Altamirano on 0-2 Bulldogs: "We're not playing the type of defense that we want"
Tricia Robredo on Sep 13, 2015 10:13 AM
"We're not playing the type of defense that we want. When we felt we were controlling already, we started turning the ball over." -- NU head coach Eric Altamirano.
In Season 77, the Red Warriors and the Bulldogs split wins in the elimination round, with National University drawing first blood. This time around, however, it was University of the East that scored one first after forcing an upset against the defending champions, 76-71.
The last time NU and UE met in the UAAP was during the playoffs for the Final Four. Missing the semis by a game was, without a doubt, heartbreaking.
However, it seems like the cards are reversed as NU currently holds a 0-2 win-loss record.
"We're not playing the type of defense that we want. When we felt we were controlling already, we started turning the ball over," said NU head coach Eric Altamirano. "By the time UE was in momentum, we lost our rhythm. We panicked and we forced the issue. We were undisciplined."
Altamirano also admitted that the Bulldogs are still struggling to adjust to an era without the likes of Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin. Sophomore Alfred Aroga in particular, who was actually rushed to the hospital earlier this week due to food poisoning, is having difficulty adjusting to his new role.
"He's a defensive player but now he's put into a situation (with Rosario gone) where he has to assert on offense. He's a little lost and we're trying to help him out. Alfred is still finding his identity," said Altamirano.
Meanwhile, UE allegedly found and stuck to their defensive identity today, and head coach Derrick Pumaren believes that this is what gave them the victory sans suspended team captain Chris Javier. Of course, Paul Varilla and Eddison Batiller played a great deal to the run by providing on offense.
"During halftime, I challenged the boys to show their worth, to play their game and to play to their potential," said Pumaren. "They responded well. This is the Warriors I've been looking for since Saturday."
Coach Eric and Coach Derrick left the dugouts on different moods, but a striking similarity remains - they're both looking ahead and are quite concerned for their next respective assignments.
University of the East plays a winless Adamson squad on Wednesday, while National University goes up against Ateneo shortly after.