MANILA — Deo Cuajao introduced himself very well to the NCAA.
Despite falling short against the JRU Heavy Bombers, the first-year Letran Knights guard fired 12 points, all coming from three-pointers, in his first game of Season 99.
Cuajao said that he was just repaying the trust of head coach Rensy Bajar.
“Naging ready lang ako sa kumpyansa na binibigay ni coach [Rensy Bajar] sakin,” said the 6-foot-1 shooter after their 85-79 loss to the Heavy Bombers on Sunday.
“Di masyado maganda yung pinakita ni [Kurt] Reyson, so yun, kailangan ko mag-step up para sa team para ma [backup] yung trabaho ni Reyson.”
For first-time coach Bajar, on the other hand, it is the responsibility of Cuajao and all his players to live up to their expectations for them to defend their crown.
“Actually, sa mga players ko naman, andun naman yung confidence ko sa kanilang lahat. It depends [na lang] sa pano sila maglaro in the games,” he said.
“Siyempre, Deo is part of the rotation, so kumbaga, kulang pa nga eh. Andun pa yung mga hesitation niya eh, which is yun yung kailangan kong i-address sa kanya, yung mawala yung hesitation.”
“Part siya dun sa rotation, so obligado talaga siyang magpakita. Same with the other players, talagang kailangan suklian din nila ng maayos yung binibigay sa kanilang minuto. “
Speaking on their performance on the other hand, Bajar pointed out how their errors led to them fumbling the multiple double-digit leads they had in the game.
“Okay naman yung overall, pero yung yung nangyari lang is yung turnovers,” the former long-time Letran assistant coach said.
“We had 29 turnovers na nakaapekto samin. On the defensive end, na-sustain namin yung dapat naming isustain. Yun nga lang, in the end, dun lang kami nag-fall short, because of our turnovers.”
He also commented on team captain Kurt Reyson’s performance and how he limited the 5-foot-9 guard’s minutes after he turned the ball over nine times.
“Medyo hindi kasi makuha ni Kurt yung timing niya, at the same time, maganda yung nilalaro ni Deo. Halos yung concentration kasi ng defense nakay Kurt. Sa seven turnovers niya halos dun rin nanggaling. Pag yung nasa loob siya dun nagcoconcentrate yung defense.”
The Knights will have the chance to bounce back from their loss on Wednesday, September 27, at 2 PM at the FilOil EcoOil Center, when they face the LPU Pirates.