NCAA: Jed Mendoza’s cry just may be a rallying cry for JRU

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Aug 17, 2018 06:35 PM
NCAA: Jed Mendoza’s cry just may be a rallying cry for JRU
Jed Mendoza let it all out as he and JRU scored their first win in NCAA Season 94 - on the basketball court, that is

The cheers rained down on Jose Rizal University as it scored its first win – on the basketball court, that is – on Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Struggling for all of the first round of the NCAA 94 Men’s Basketball Tournament, those cheers was all Heavy Bombers top gun Jed Mendoza wanted to hear. “Alam ni Lord, alam ng team na gustong-gusto kong manalo. Every game naman, binibigay ko lahat,” he said.

Mendoza and his teammates lost all of their first seven games before a league ruling overturned one of their losses and turned their 0-7 record to 1-6 last Thursday.

A day later, Mendoza and his teammates were celebrating their first win – on the basketball court, that is.

That is even truer as throughout their terrible start to the season, Mendoza has been at the receiving end of heavy criticism.

And so, when that final buzzer sounded, the third-year guard could only let out all those tears.

“Parang nabawasan ako ng tinik sa dibdib talaga. Ngayon kasi, pag sinabi na JRU, ako nagre-represent e as captain ball and superstar,” he shared.

He then continued, “Parang pag binabatikos yung team, ako kaagad e,” he shared.

That was why from start to finish of their school hymn, he was crying and pointing at the JRU crowd. “Hindi na para sa akin ‘to, para kay Lord na ‘to, para sa team, para masuklian ko yung binibigay nila coach. Nahihiya na rin kasi kami sa JRU community na todo-suporta pa rin sila,” he said.

While he was doing that, his father figure on the team was fighting back tears of his own. “Hindi ako naiyak sa panalo e. Dito ako naiyak,” head coach Vergel Meneses told reporters, referring to Mendoza who was sitting beside him in their first post-win interview in the season.

He then continued, “Nakita kong gustong manalo talaga e. I hope yung ibang players ko, madala rin yun.”

All season long, coach Vergel has been preaching patience and perseverance for his rebuilding crew. “Nakita ko pa lang sa Filoil (Preseason), prangka na ako sa kanila at sinasabi kong swerte na tayong manalo ng tatlo o apat,” he shared.

That is exactly why the Philippine basketball legend, always the competitor, changed up his coaching style for this season.

For example, in one instance in the endgame, Mendoza was forced into a turnover which then led to a timeout for Emilio Aguinaldo College.

Instead of giving him a scolding, however, the usually fiery coach Vergel just kissed him on the head.

All of this, the Heavy Bombers’ mentor understood, will just be part of their process. “We take all the criticism as a challenge. Naging constructive criticism na lang that will help us,” he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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