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    Napa plays down matchup vs former Bullpups stars as NU faces UP

    Mar 30, 2022
    Former Bullpups Carl Tamayo, Harold Alarcon and Gerry Abadiano take on coach Jeff Napa's NU Bulldogs.

    NATIONAL University coach Jeff Napa is never one to dwell on emotions and stressed that he has no time to cry over spilled milk.

    The same mentality goes for those who left Jhocson as he meets them when NU shifts its attention to Thursday's game against University of the Philippines.

    "Nothing unusual. Kung ano man yung ginagawa naming preparation sa simula ng first game, adjustment, corrections, ganoon pa rin," he said.

    This will be the first time that Fighting Maroons coach Goldwin Monteverde as well as bluechip rookies Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea, and Harold Alarcon, all products of the Bullpups program, will face NU in the seniors division.

    Napa, though, didn't end up empty-handed with Janjan Felicilda and Reyland Torres just among the few who chose to stay and remain with the Bulldogs for their collegiate careers.

    Yet this chatter does not excite Napa one bit, saying, "We don't care kung sino yung makakalaban namin. Kailangan muna namin ayusin ang sarili namin talaga."

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    "Ever since naman, hindi ko tinitignan kung sino ang kalaban ko. Ako, as a person, is very competitive. Malabo sa bokabularyo kong magpapatalo ako basta-basta. Same thing sa players ko na talagang ini-instill ko na di kami papasok dito para maging talunan. Kahit anong mangyari, we'll give our best, we'll be competitive, and whatever the result, at least wala kaming regrets dahil ginawa namin ang part namin."

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    Harold Alarcon

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    Harold Alarcon and the Maroons eye their second win.

    To the mentor, his foremost concern for the Bulldogs is to recalibrate after a close 59-55 defeat to La Salle on Tuesday.

    Despite the loss, NU has been very impressive through the first two gamedays of UAAP Season 84, splitting its first two games enough to earn the tag as this season's dark horse.

    But Napa, ever the proud one, is unperturbed.

    "Sabihin na nila gusto nilang sabihin. Dark naman ako talaga eh," he said before turning serious in emphasizing that the players' growth can't be done in an instant.

    "Ang hirap i-fasttrack ang maturity ng players ko eh. Ang daming second year na naglalaro, ang dami kong rookies na binibigyan ko ng malaking responsibilidad. Pero happy naman ako kasi nagli-live sila sa expectations ko. Nagpe-perform sila di lang sa offensive end but also sa defensive end. Kaya nga lang kulang pa rin eh."

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    Still, the process continues for NU as Napa aims to turn this young crew to a gritty and scrappy side.

    "Sabihin man nila na kami ang dark horse, we don't care. We'll just do our job," he said. "Ako, as a coach, it's my responsibility to prepare my team. Whatever it takes, basta kailangan maihanda ko ang mga batang ito para in the near future, hindi na ako mahirapan. Mage-enjoy na lang akong panoorin ang mga batang ito."

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    Former Bullpups Carl Tamayo, Harold Alarcon and Gerry Abadiano take on coach Jeff Napa's NU Bulldogs.
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