NCAA: Arellano vows strong comeback after injuries derail Final Four dreams
MANILA, Philippines—Arellano missed out on the Final Four spot after a subpar second round where the Chiefs were bit by the injury bug.
Axel Doromal and Cade Flores, two of the most important key players for coach Cholo Martin in NCAA Season 98, said injuries played a huge part in the team’s elimination.
“We feel regretful. We could have done more. We had some lapses in our previous games. We also had close games and in the second round, injuries of our key players came consecutively. Sayang,” Doromal said after their 63-62 loss to Emilio Aguinaldo College on Tuesday.
Doromal finished with a game-high 25 points for Arellano, which had four players sit out two or more games early in the second round.
Those included graduating guard Shane Menina, Joshua Abastillas, Neil Tolentino and Rookie of the Year frontrunner Cade Flores.
“I had a stupid injury in practice. Freak accident. After that, I don’t know, we just got pretty unlucky. Unfortunately, all of that happened. Josh (Abastillas) got injured as well. Injuries really played a part,” Doromal explained.
Arellano was holding a 5-7 record prior to the accidents and only won two games since then, finishing with a 7-11 record.
For Flores, an NCAA Player of the Week recipient, other internal factors also played in the team’s downfall in the second round, but he is determined to learn from it all for Season 99.
“We had a lot of lapses. Whether it be some people having attitudes, even myself. I don’t know, we just need time to gel. First season, several rookies played pretty well compared to teams playing for two, three years together. We’ll come back next year strong, for sure.”
Doromal, on the other hand, will have to take the lion’s share of minutes in the backcourt as his partner Menina exhausted all his collegiate playing years.
“Next season, I’ll have to adjust for the team. I’ll be more of a leader for the players because I’m the player with the longest tenure on this team. Maybe I’ll focus more on my weaknesses too,” said the league’s third-leading scorer with 15.56 markers per outing.
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