THE Jose Rizal University Heavy Bombers beefed up their line-up with the aim of improving their Final Four finish last year in the 91st season of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) basketball tournament, which unfold Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Coach Vergel Meneses added into the team former starting guard Paolo Pontejos, rookie Mark dela Virgen and African Abdel Poutouochi to back up Rassak Abdul Wahab in the frontcourt.
The three made an impressive mark as the Bombers ruled Group A in the Filoil Flying V tournament, a pre-season event that tests the mettle of players from major collegiate leagues. They capped their preparations by whipping the University of Sto. Tomas Tigers in the just concluded Fr. Martin Summer Cup.
“We’ve lost some key players this year but good thing we got several replacements who could help us fill those voids,” said Meneses referring to the departure of bruiser Michael Mabulac and sharpshooter Philip Paniamogan.
“Pao’s [Pontejos] return give the team more flexibility because he will be the sparkplug of our second team,” said Meneses.
Meneses also cited 6’10 Poutouochi as a key player in the Bombers’ interior defense along with the 6-8 Abdul Wahab, who was instrumental in their Final Four finish last year.
“Our goal is to make the Final Four first and then we can start thinking about the finals,” said Meneses.