Soft-spoken Mendoza, Mamuyac finally finding voice for Eaglets

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 06, 2016 10:18 PM
Soft-spoken Mendoza, Mamuyac finding voice for Eaglets
LET ME HEAR YOU. Jolo Mendoza and Gian Mamuyac have resolved to let their voices be heard even louder as Ateneo gears up for the playoffs.

As their own mentor admitted, Ateneo de Manila High School is in an “uphill climb” to win a second championship in a row.

More than a dearth of talent, where the cupboard is far from bare as evidenced by a grand total of five Blue Eaglets who are also Batang Gilas players, coach Joe Silva has pointed out something intangible as the reason why they find themselves as the third-seed and without any advantage heading into the stepladder playoffs.

As he put bluntly put it when his boys got swept in the elimination round by archrival De La Salle Zobel right after also getting the broom from league-leading Nazareth School of National University, “We’re lacking in leadership.”

At present, the faces of Ateneo are team captain Jolo Mendoza and do-it-all forward Gian Mamuyac. While the two are terrific talents on the court, they have also drawn the unenviable task of following up two strong leaders in Mike and Matt Nieto who left their imprint from the bench to the floor.

Silva expounded, “Jolo’s not really vocal and we’re really looking for someone like Mike and Matt who kept the team together. If you know these boys, they’re really soft-spoken and it’s not really in them to be vocal.”

He also added, “Jolo’s leadership is different. He gets it done inside the court.”

Making things even more difficult for him to lead, Mendoza – last year’s Finals MVP who was expected to contend for season MVP this time around – battled an injury for half of the tournament. Asked about his left ankle on Saturday, however, he had good news in saying, “I’m not feeling any pain there anymore. I’m comfortable na.”

Along with a return to full health, the Ateneo team captain also confidently expressed that he and Mamuyac have resolved to address what their mentor pointed to. “Na-realize and nasapuso na namin na we need to be more vocal on and off the court,” he said.

He then continued, “So nakikita na natin na kahit nasa bench na kami, we’re still giving our best to get our teammates going.”

With a three-game winning streak serving as a beacon of hope, Mamuyac happily shared, “Mas naging family na kami ngayon. Yung lack of leadership, sino-solve namin na lahat ng 16 players, nagli-lead.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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