No longer champions, Mendoza and Mamuyac still happy as ‘better persons’

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 15, 2016 03:01 PM
No longer champions, Eaglets still happy as ‘better persons’
IN THE SEA.

Another loss – their third in the same number of matchups in the UAAP 78 Juniors Basketball Tournament – at the hands of their archrivals was just the fitting end to what Jolo Mendoza called his “worst season individually.”

Expected to contend for season MVP following a Finals MVP award a year ago, Mendoza was instead slowed down by an ankle injury for half of the tournament and tallied subpar – for him at least – per game counts of 16.6 points in 42 percent, three rebounds, and 1.4 assists.

However, the dip in his numbers does not hurt the Blue Eaglets’ team captain as much as his failure to lead them to at least a proper defense of their title. As he put it, “Masakit kasi I really wanted to win this, not just for myself, but for my fellow graduating seniors lalo na yung walang planong ituloy yung basketball sa college.”

He then continued, “Yun yung sobrang sakit na ‘di ko sila natulungan dun.”

It was even more painful for Mendoza’s running mate Gian Mamuyac who didn’t even get to finish his last game in the Juniors. The do-it-all forward fouled out with less than a minute remaining and Ateneo trailing by seven.

Ergo, all he could do was stay on the sidelines and watch as the crowns on their heads were shot down by De La Salle Zobel. “Masakit na makikita mo patapos na yung game at nasa bench ka, walang magawa,” he said.

Nonetheless, Mamuyac was not shy in expressing how proud of his team and their fight – even though it fell short. “Malungkot, pero may part na masaya rin kasi we gave it our all,” he said.

He then continued, “Sabi nga ng mga coaches namin, ‘Winning a championship is secondary, being a better person is first.’”

Mendoza could only echo the same pride as he said, “We did everything we can and everyone did their part. That’s all thatwe could do.”

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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