Under new coach Jarin, Bulldogs bringing ’40 minutes of hell’ to UAAP
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 02, 2017 06:09 PM
TRANSITION. NU will no longer be a halfcourt team - that's for sure.
HOW’D THEY DO LAST SEASON? 5-9, tied for fifth and sixth
YES, THEY’RE STILL HERE: J-Jay Alejandro, Rev Diputado, Matt Salem
WELCOME TO THE FAMILY: Issa Gaye, Enzo Joson, Jonas Tibayan
GOOD LUCK ON FUTURE ENDEAVORS: Alfred Aroga, JV Gallego, Med Salim, Joshua Sinclair
Only three years removed from their first championship in six decades, a new era dawns on National University.
Eric Altamirano, the coach who ended their title drought, is out and Jamike Jarin, the coach who had just won in the NCAA, is in.
In the end, the Bulldogs just replaced a champion coach with another one.
And as such, the boys from Sampaloc remain upbeat about their chances for contention – and even their chances at another championship. As Senegalese Issa Gaye, another new face, put it, full of confidence, “Of course, our goal is Final Four then the championship.”
He then continued, “It won’t be a miracle if we get the championship, I promise you.”
Still, a coach can only do so much and players have a part to play as well.
And the NU players who remain from last season acknowledged that they fell short in playing their part. Asked what ailed them in their uninspiring 5-9 campaign, J-Jay Alejandro answered, “Yung maturity ng team. Nabigla kasi kami sa pag-alis nila Gelo [Alolino], Kyle [Neypes] kasi sanay kaming may veterans.”
Now, the burden of being the veteran falls on Alejandro, the new team captain. “Kaya ko naman siguro. Nandyan naman yung coaches and teammates ko so lahat, tulong-tulong lang kami,” he said.
That leadership is all the more vital as the Bulldogs will be transitioning from being a halfcourt team into a run-and-gun team. Asked how much they have already adjusted to the new system, Alejandro answered, “Siguro, nasa 70 to 80 percent na kami.”
If Jarin’s 2016 NCAA champion team in San Beda College is any indication, NU will now run non-stop. “For four seasons, kilala kami as a halfcourt team. Ngayon, 40 minutes of hell na kami. Takbo, takbo, takbo yun yung gusto ni coach,” the skipper shared.
His fellow veteran in Matt Salem said the same thing. “Coach Jamike will be pressing us for 40 minutes so we’re gonna cause chaos.”
Asked if he really meant chaos and not mayhem, he answered, “Not mayhem, we’ll cause chaos. We’re gonna have an uptempo game, we’re gonna keep running, we’re not gonna relax.”
The good news is the Bulldogs now have many more younger legs to run non-stop in six-foot-10 center Gaye, heady pointman Enzo Joson, and do-it-all forward Jonas Tibayan.
Still, the hopes of Sampaloc will be pinned on their two graduating leaders in Salem and Alejandro.
And the two are nothing but determined to come through.
“I’m feeling really good. I’m gonna make the most out of my last year,” Salem said.
Alejandro added, “Dahil last year ko na, bigay na lahat, wala nang tira-tira pa.”
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.