Following the exit of his ‘older brothers,’ led by former Finals MVP Mac Belo, due to graduation, Raymar Jose has been left with no choice but to take over the leadership mantle for defending champion Far Eastern U in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament.
And the 6-foot-4 big man feels he’s matured enough to handle—and even excel—on his new role.
“Bilang kuya nila at isa sa mga leaders ng team ngayon, maituturo ko sa kanila ‘yung mga bagay na natutunan ko rin dati sa mga kuya ko like sina Mac. Ngayon, maia-apply ko naman sa kanila,” said the Pontevedra, Negros Occidental native.
“Sobrang excited nga ako ngayon. Madadala ko rin sa future ko ‘yung pagiging leader at role ko sa team ngayon,” he added.
Jose played his finest season last year when FEU made it all the way and clinched the school’s 20th men’s cage title—its first since 2005. He averaged 8.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists while providing the needed inside presence on both ends.
With Jose now on his fifth and final year, FEU coach Nash Racela is hoping to see more from him.
“I want him to expand his game. We’re happy with what he has given us last year. Hopefully mas marami pa siyang magawa this year that can help the team’s performance,” he said.
While he admitted that there’s indeed a big pressure to deliver—and successfully defend the title, Jose is confident the Tamaraws can get the job done.
“Lalaban pa rin talaga kami. Basta sundin namin ‘yung pinapagawa ni coach, tingin ko maganda pa rin naman ang magiging resulta sa huli. Basta one game at a time lang kami,” he said. – By Jerome Lagunzad
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JLFoxSports