Published October 8, 2023 2:02pm
Updated October 8, 2023 2:02pm
After claiming their fourth win in NCAA Season 99 at the expense of Emilio Aguinaldo College, Mapua head coach Randy Alcantara spoke nothing but praise for the resilience his troops showed down the stretch.
“What’s crucial was our defense and the steal by Clint (Escamis). So that’s what was good. And of course, Paolo Hernandez delivered again in the clutch. In crunch time, we went to him again,” the Cardinals tactician said in Filipino.
“The leadership of Clint and Boni (Warren Bonifacio). And of course, our role players like Jopet and Recto — everyone. That’s what was key there. They didn’t let go and it started again on defense for us.”
En route to their fiery 4-1 start to the season, Mapua leaned on their team play to overcome tough opposition. This time, it was Jopet Soriano who shone against the Generals.
In just roughly 20 minutes, the senior forward produced 15 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and one assist. However, aside from his box score numbers, Alcantara praised him for the intangibles he brings to the Cardinals squad every game.
“I compare him to someone like Alvin Teng. Even if you don’t run plays for him, he will fight for rebounds. And on defense, his provides a presence. He is what I call a role player that will just go out and play, and you don’t notice it but he’s already doing damage,” Alcantara said.
“I give a lot of credit to Jopet. Even if he’s hurt or takes hits, as long as he’s on the floor, he will keep playing.”
Despite having just one loss in five games, the Cardinals coach is not ready to relax just yet, saying that they are still far from their ultimate goal.
“We need to keep playing well on defense because even now, we are always playing catch-up in games. It’s been a couple of games that we have to come from behind and had to really work. So I hope the coaches and players can solve this.”
Alcantara and the rest of the Mapua Cardinals continue their first round expedition as they play the defending champions Colegio de San Juan de Letran Knights next on Wednesday, October 11.
—JMB, GMA Integrated News