NU finally gets the Matt Salem it has been waiting for
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 08, 2017 07:40 PM
THERE YOU ARE. At long last, Matt Salem looks like the perfect partner-in-crime for J-Jay Alejandro.
After a half a month wait, National University has barged back into the win column,
And team captain J-Jay Alejandro just could not contain how happy he is with the much-wanted, long-awaited bounce back win. “Parang isang taon! Ang saya manalo ulit,” he exclaimed to reporters after the Bulldogs bested the University of the Philippines, 77-70, on Sunday.
Along with the bounce back win, the Sampaloc-based squad is also celebrating the first appearance in the tournament for Matt Salem. “We’re waiting for that e – for Matt Salem to explode. For the past games, kaya kami nagbi-bleed (for points) kasi maganda yung defense na binibigay sa kanya,” Alejandro said.
He then continued, “Siyempre, credit sa mga kalaban namin, pero malaking tulong talaga kapag nakaka-convert si Matt.”
Expected to be Alejandro’s running mate, Salem has instead struggled to start the season with per game counts of six points in 27.9 percent shooting.
That all turned around up against the Fighting Maroons whom the sweet-shooting big man lit up to the tune of 21 points built on five triples to go along with 10 rebounds.
Without a doubt, that is a much welcome development for a NU side searching for shotmaking.
Asked what changed from their three-game slide to this bounce back win, head coach Jamike Jarin answered, “It’s no secret right now, but Matt Salem has been struggling all throughout and I told him that for us to really make a good push this season, he needs to overachieve.”
For the 24-year-old, it was all about not letting down his coaches and teammates. “I just want to say thank you to my coaches and my teammates who never gave up on me. They’re always behind me, 24/7, throughout the season,” he shared.
He then continued, “I had to do something different and so I was just telling myself to step up, knowing they had my back.”
And from here, Jarin is only hoping all of this continued – not just for Salem, but even guys like Issa Gaye and Dave Wilson Yu. “Our team is not talented enough to close out games so it should always be a collective effort from everybody,” he said.
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