Ateneo finds another hero in point guard convert Mendoza
Through the course of UAAP Season 79, Ateneo has continuously stumbled on surprises to help its campaign.
Guys like Aaron Black, Thirdy Ravena and Anton Asistio have emerged as unlikely heroes for the Blue Eagles, keeping them at solo third with a 5-4 card.
And on Wednesday in Ateneo’s 75-61 victory over University of the East, it was rookie Jolo Mendoza’s turn
on the spotlight.
The 6-foot guard went hot from beyond the arc, going 3-of-5 to finish with a season-high 15 points. His explosion also helped the Blue Eagles overhaul an early 23-9 deficit and break away in the second half.
“Making my first shot helped a lot,” he said. “My teammates, hinahanap nila ako, so we understand each other’s game and we help each other to play at their best.”
Coach Sandy Arespacochaga also praised Mendoza, saying that the former Blue Eaglet had to change his game to a point guard as he ascended to the senior level.
“He’s also understanding and learning a new position. It’s not an easy task for him, but he organized our team when he was inside and he had only one turnover. That’s a good thing with the game of Jolo,” he said.
The mentor hopes this is the beginning of brighter days for Mendoza, saying, “We’re very happy to see his growth in other aspects of the game. Defensively, he’s improved by a lot, so we’re hoping to see that from all our other players.”
Mendoza, though, downplayed his breakout game and was more concerned with the Blue Eagles’ campaign as they snapped a two-game losing skid.
“For me, the most important thing is winning. It just felt good that I was able to contribute to the win,” he said. “Coming off two straight losses, we really needed this game. It’s really a good confidence booster for us coming to our game against NU on Sunday.”