NCAA 95: Policarpio hurting because of lost championship for Mapua, not lost MVP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 22, 2019 04:54 PM
Policarpio hurting because of lost championship for Mapua
(Photo by Josh Albelda)

It looked like all was falling into place for Jonnel Policarpio to win MVP in the NCAA 95 Juniors Basketball Tournament.

Even after missing the first three games, the second-year forward made an immediate impact for Mapua High School once he played and stuffed the stat sheet.

And so, at the end of the first round of eliminations, he found himself second in terms of Statistical Points (SPs).

Actually, though, Policarpio was the frontrunner for MVP as Rhayyan Amsali, the no.1 in SPs, got suspended for a game and is therefore ineligible for individual awards..

That wasn't meant to be, however, as there was one thing that didn't go as planned - the Red Robins getting dethroned earlier than expected.

Of course, the fact that they were unable to defend their title hurt a lot for the prideful program. "Masakit para sa amin, pero okay lang din. Kami kasi, halos puro rookie so babawi na lang kami next year," their 6-foot-4 do-it-all weapon said.

And that lost title for him and his team was the one and only thing he regretted in what turned out to be a lost season for Mapua - not the lost MVP for him. "Okay lang yun. Tapos na yun," he said of no longer being qualified for the top individual award.

As per league rules, the Season MVP must come from a team which makes the semifinals.

When the next season rolls around, everybody can expect Policarpio to be gunning for a trophy - but not the MVP. "Ibabalik namin yung kampyonato sa Mapua," he said, full of confidence about their chances as their team remains intact.

He then continued, "101 percent yung gutom namin para mabalik yung championship next year."

There, the Pampanga native knows full well he will have to be the leader that he wasn't for much of this lost season. As he put it, "Kailangan, on and off court, tuturuan ko yung mga bata kong teammate para sabay-sabay kaming mag-improve. This year kasi, sobra akong nagulat na ako na bigla yung leader."

He then continued, "Pero pasalamat sa coaches namin kasi binibigyan pa rin nila ako ng tiwala."

The good news is that he has already come a long way in doing that - if head coach Yong Garcia is to be believed. "Nagkaroon kasi siya ng problema sa academics sa start ng season kaya on and off siya sa ensayo. Pinapag-focus ko siya sa aral kaya 'di niya gamay yung laro namin, lalo na sa depensa, nung una," he shared.

He then continued, "Pero masaya kami kasi ngayon, nakita naming talagang trinabaho niya at gumaganda na nga yung laro niya ulit."

Still, coach Yong will continue challenging Policarpio to be the best he can be - on and off the court. "Malaki yung binigay ko sa kanyang responsibilidad. Unang-una, 'di na siya pwede um-absent sa ensayo dahil dun lang siya makakapag-focus sa team talaga," he said.

The even better news is that Mapua's main man is only taking the tall task head-on. "Sabi sa akin ni coach na kahit saan, ibigay ko best ko. Malaki ang expectations niya sa akin so gagagawin ko yun palagi," he said.

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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