NU Bulldogs ‘pressured’ to defend UAAP crown

Barry Viloria on Aug 14, 2015 01:57 PM
NU Bulldogs ‘pressured’ to defend UAAP crown
(Photo: Santino Honasan/ABS-CBN Sports)

The smell and sweat thickened profusely at the National University (NU) Gymnasium on a weekday morning, as we caught the Bulldogs training with some foreign faces. The Bulldogs were just taking on some members of the Athletes in Action (AIA)—an international Christian organization that promotes sports in partnership with other ministries—for a skills test and then a practice game. A workout followed next.

This is usually what makes up a day of an NU player recently. It’s all part of how last season’s men’s basketball champs are prepping for Season 78, on to defend its crowd hard earned after six decades.

“Maayos naman ang training namin with the AIA. Mas natsa-challenge kami, which is kailangan namin this coming season,” noted the Bulldogs’ captain Gelo Alolino.

Before this, the team went on a basketball camp in Australia for two weeks. There, they trained and played against some of Sydney’s top basketball teams.

The pressure is definitely high for NU as they approach the new season. Relying on defense, NU beat the Far Eastern University (FEU) in three games last season for the top rank and eliminated leading contender Ateneo de Manila University in the semifinals.

With the exit of star players Troy Rosario, Henri Betayene, and Glenn Khobuntin, the team is thus expecting to boost the team’s defense. Although, it also vows to rely more on former high school standouts Mohammed Salim and Rev Diputado, and rookies such as Nico Abatayo, who played for San Beda High School.

“We are still on to our defense this season,” Alolino said. “Serious talaga kami per game, kahit pa man practice game kagaya ngayon.”

Alolino also pointed out how each varsity team is stepping up its game this season. Last year’s close rival FEU, of course, is on for a comeback with veterans Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo on the frontline.

“Everyone is a challenge kasi lahat ng teams, nag-step up ngayon even UP. Anyone can win, actually,” he said.

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