Equipped with a world championship experience, Batang Gilas holdover Jolo Mendoza is ready to give the country another SEABA youth basketball glory before setting foot in the UAAP seniors division.
Mendoza, together with Ateneo teammate Gian Mamuyac, will lead a new breed of Batang Gilas when they take on Southeast Asian neighbors for the SEABA Under-18 Championship which will be held in Medan, Indonesia on April 23 to 28.
“Isa siyang blessing for me, and honor to be a captain of the national team,” said Mendoza on his appointment as the team captain by coach Mike Oliver.
“It’s an amazing experience and a feeling for me, I’m gonna try my best to lead the team in another SEABA championship,” he added.
Together with the Nieto brothers of Ateneo –Matt and Mike– and then-UPIS star Diego Dario, the 5-foot-9 heady point guard played an integral part of the 2013 FIBA Under-16 championship, where they finished 2nd that served as their ticket to the world stage two years ago.
“I gained experience and exposure from that and I’m gonna try to bring it to this team,” said Mendoza, who topscored for the Batang Gilas squad during the elimination round of the 2014 world staging of Under-17 competition held in Dubai, UAE.
Primarily the heavy favorites heading to the regional tournament this year with 7 titles in 9 editions, Mendoza looks to continue the Philippines’ dominant run to enter the FIBA Asia Championship.
“We’re gonna play with our cards and do our best,” he said, citing this year’s line-up features more athletic players.
Both Mendoza and Mamuyac will see action next for Ateneo Blue Eagles. – By Jason Mercene
Follow this writer on Twitter: @JasonMercenePH