That was how Jose Rizal University coach Vergel Meneses described his team’s heart-stopping 65-64 victory over undermanned Mapua on opening day of Season 88 of the NCAA.
After Mapua’s homegrown rookie Andrew Estrella tied the game for the last time at 64-all, John Lopez split his free throws with less than 40 seconds left to give JRU the edge in the tight game, which saw eight deadlocks and 11 lead changes.
JRU then kept the Cardinals scoreless to bag the opening victory. But Meneses said the win left a lot to be desired.
“Nakachamba lang kami. Parang hindi same Heavy Bombers team yung nakita ko sa kanila ngayon. Hindi kami masyadong aggressive sa laro today,” said the 1995 PBA Most Valuable Player.
Meneses added that he expects better effort from his wards in their upcoming matches.
“Every game is a championship game. We’re not that strong. We have to play hard on defense for 40 minutes if we want to keep winning,” he said.
Lopez, who is playing in his final year for the Heavy Bombers, delivered 20 points while Nate Matute added 16.
Estrella had a sizzling debut with 22 points, while last season’s top rookie Josan Nimes added 13, but missed a late three-pointer that could have won the game for Mapua, which was playing without four newcomers who were disallowed from playing because of residency issues.
Jose Rizal University (65) – Lopez 20, Matute 16, Villarias 11, Monserat 5, Mabulac 4, Carampil 4, Camasura 3, Dela Paz 2, Almario 0, Mendoza 0, Maconocido 0, Salaveria 0, Porter 0.
Mapua (64) – Estrella 22, Nimes 13, Ighalo 9, Chien 7, Stevens 7, Parala 3, Banal 2, Abad 1, Cantos 0, Layug 0.
Quarterscores: 21-14, 36-39, 48-50, 65-64
Source: Mia Rengie Angela Domingo, InterAKTV