Jose Rizal U has been playing up-and-down in the 92nd NCAA seniors basketball tourney and the Heavy Bombers’ early struggles could be mirrored by veteran guard Paolo Pontejos.
The graduating guard groped for form anew on Thursday and saw limited action in the course of JRU’s hard-earned 60-59 victory over Emilio Aguinaldo College at The Arena in San Juan City, playing for less than five minutes.
Considered as one of the team’s go-to-guys who averaged 10.5 points in their first four matches, Pontejos missed all of his six attempts in the first half and was not fielded back in anew by JRU coach Vergel Meneses even during the tight finish which was capped by Teytey Teodoro’s game-clinching jumper with 5.3 seconds left.
“He missed sixth straight shots. I just gave other players the chance (to play),” said Meneses, justifying his bold moves that also saw him inserting Mark dela Virgen into the starting lineup in favor of Pontejos.
A proud Laguna native, Pontejos, who hauled down three rebounds against the Generals, took in stride his latest predicament.
“Siguro mas maganda ang nilalaro nung ibang kasabayan ko kaya ‘yun ang pinapasok ni coach,” he told FOX Sports after emerging from their dugout.
While he reiterated that he’s not dealing with any kind of injury, Pontejos said he’s just happy to see their team get back on track.
“Basta panalo kami, okay na sa akin yun. Bawi na lang ako next game,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
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