At the start of the season Coach Vergel Meneses said in an interview that he expects the Heavy Bombers to gain experience from this stint in the PBA Developmental League while downplaying the team’s chances. Playing the familiar role of the underdog, he promised that team would leave it all on the floor in every game they play.
JRU opened the season with a win against Big Chill Superchargers on Oct. 25, 2012. After a series of losses against powerhouse NLEX, Informatics, Blackwater, and Boracay Rum, JRU was down to 1-4.
With five games remaining against teams in the upper half of the standings, JRU needed a big push and a bit of luck to qualify in the quarter finals. The Heavy Bombers worked their way into contention, winning four of their last five games – 103-100 vs. Cagayan; 66-62 vs. Café France; 100-64 vs. Fruitas; 74-61 vs. Erase, which was held at the JRU gymnasium.
In the quarterfinals, JRU waylaid a tough Big Chill team that enjoyed a twice to beat advantage, 80-71 in the first game and 63-61 in the second game barging into the semi-finals of the Aspirants Cup.
The JRU Heavy Bombers faced the three time D-League Champion NLEX Road Warriors in the semis. NLEX boasted of a line-up comprised of the top players in Philippine College Basketball and National Team mainstays. The Road Warriors overwhelmed the Heavy Bombers in game one 105-85. But Meneses’ stalwarts bounced back in game two beating NLEX 108-94 to tie the series.
The rubber match was set. It was dubbed by TV analysts as the best game of the Season. The nip-and-tuck affair ended in a two point victory by the Road Warriors staving off a late-game rally by the gritty Heavy Bombers.
Heart and will can win over talent. JRU has proven time and again that hard work pays off. This is the Heavy Bombers’ calling card. The D-League Aspirants Cup experience will only propel the team to greater heights.
No time to rest. Now it’s on to the next game.