NATIONAL University juniors coach Jeff Napa said the narrow win over Adamson should serve as a wake-up call for his Bulldogs after their unbeaten run in the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball tournament nearly came to an end on Saturday.
The powerhouse Bullpups lost a 15-point lead and barely held on when the Baby Falcons came toe-to-toe against the top team in the league late in the fourth period.
NU was only spared blushes by a putback by big man Justine Baltazar for a 68-66 win that stretched their win streak to nine games.
Napa said he has been preaching team basketball to a formidable lineup led by the 6-7 Baltazar and John Lloyd Clemente. Unfortunately Napa saw the exact opposite in the game against the Baby Falcons.
“Hindi naman kami nagre-rely sa individual talent. May talent kami pero pinagsasama-sama namin ‘yun,” said Napa.
“Naging evident ‘yung talent, hindi ‘yung team,” he added, referring to their match against Adamson. “May swerte pero hindi kami dapat ganun, kasi mahaba pa ang season.”
Napa said the close win should fire up his wards to play better against Far Eastern University-Diliman on Wednesday morning at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
“Wake-up call talaga ‘to sa mga bata. All throughout, ayoko naman talaga maging kampante. Never ko naisip na mag-relax dahil kahit papano, dami ko na na-experience na heartbreaks sa team. Ayoko na rin maranasan ‘yun,” Napa said.
The victory staked the Bulldogs to a two-game lead over De La Salle-Zobel, which is at 7-2.