NATIONAL University thinks 2013 is the perfect year to break its decades-long title drought in the UAAP.
Coach Eric Altamirano said the Bulldogs have a great chance of winning the championship this time as all teams are now in the same level after five-time champion Ateneo lost key players to both injuries and graduation.
“If there is a year that we can do it, this is the year,” said Altamriano. “With the graduating players from Ateneo, the playing field has evened out.”
From the looks of it, NU does have the pieces to win the UAAP crown for the first time since 1954.
The Bulldogs failed to win the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup for the second straight time, but they still run away with the Fr. Martin Cup title in the preseason, making them as one of the teams to beat in the league this year.
Two-time UAAP MVP Bobby Ray Parks is expected to play inspired basketball in his third year in the team following the death of his father, seven-time PBA Best Import Bobby Sr. four months ago.
The Bulldogs also tapped another African import in Alfred Aroga, who will team up with the returning Emmanuel Mbe in the frontline.
At the same time, NU got deeper with former PH youth standout JJ Alejandro finally suiting up for the team while marked improvement on other players are also evident as in the case of big man Troy Rosario.
Last season, the Bulldogs took the first step into the right direction of being title contenders when they finished third in the elimination round with a 9-5 win-loss record before bowing to University of Santo Tomas in the Final Four.
This year, Altamirano hopes whatever gains they got in the preseason will lead to a better performance on the court.
“I just hope the tag of team to beat can translate into wins. Pero hindi. We still have to prove it on the court. It’s going to be an interesting season,” said Altamirano.