NATIONAL University is unperturbed by a loss to Adamson last Saturday, as consultant Jeff Napa considered the defeat a good preparation for the Bullpups' campaign in the Final Four of the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball tournament.
The Bullpups topped the elimination round with a 12-2 win-loss slate but suffered a 70-68 setback against Adamson in a thrilling game that felt like a championship battle rather than a no-bearing match to end the two teams' campaign in the eliminations.
Napa welcomed the opportunity to play in such an atmosphere heading into the Final Four on February 14. The Bullpups, however, have to wait as La Salle-Zobel or University of Santo Tomas play in a knockout game for the No. 4 spot on Thursday.
Napa said he couldn’t ask for more from the efforts of his wards, who could have easily played a lackluster game in a no-bearing contest last Saturday after already securing the top spot and twice-to-beat edge in the semifinals.
“Ginawa naming competitive,” said Napa. “We are pretty sure papasok na kami sa semifinals. ‘Yun ‘yung level na kailangan naming laruin.”
NU faltered in the endgame and was outscored by Adamson in the fourth, 23-8, allowing the Baby Falcons to pull off the two-point win before throngs of pro-Adamson fans.
Despite the defeat, Napa was satisfied to see the players showing their competitiveness entering the Final Four.
“Happy naman ako sa pinakita ng mga bata. They played their best. Breaks of the game lang. We have to prepare for the semifinals and, hopefully, sa championship,” Napa said.
Napa also lauded the efforts of Adamson, which played its hearts out in an emotional final game of the eliminations following a UAAP decision to forfeit 11 of its wins for fielding an ineligible player in Encho Serrano.
“Give credit sa kanila. They came here prepared. Ganun din kami. Breaks of the game talaga,” said Napa.