NATIONAL University’s Shaun Ildefonso hopes that they rise from the ashes in the second round of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament.
After a lethargic first round that saw them lose five games in a row since winning on opening day against the UST Tigers last month, before finally regaining their winning ways against the Red Warriors, Ildefonso said that he and the young Bulldogs learned a lot from that string of setbacks.
“Doon sa limang talo para apat doon parang three to five points lang (kami natalo) tapos ‘yung sa UP, one point so winnable ‘yun. ‘Yung sa Ateneo lang talaga,” said Ildefonso after breaking a five-game slump with a 88-61 victory over UE in their last assignment of the first round last Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Despite not living up to the expectations in their first seven games by sitting at seventh place with a 2-5 win-loss record, the 6-foot-2 forward insisted that the enigma woke them up.
“‘Yung natutunan namin doon kaya naman talaga namin,” said Ildefonso, who is playing his first UAAP season after a one-year residency following his transfer from Ateneo.
“Pinakamain point doon sa mga talo namin it’s a wake-up call na, ‘Guys, come on we can do this. Kaya natin to, sumasabay tayo sa kanila, may potential tayo na lagpasan pa sila,” he added.
And as the Bulldogs begin their second-round against Adamson Falcons (5-2) on Wednesday at the MOA Arena, Ildefonso hopes that it will be the start of their resurgence.
“Lagi ko sila sinasabi na ‘Guys we have so much potential, let’s start today, when we win on Saturday ‘yun na ‘yung magiging start,” said Ildefonso, who will try to redeem NU with his brother Dave Ildefonso, John Lloyd Clemente, Issa Gaye, Troy Rike, Dave Yu, Rev Diputado, and John Gallinato.
“Kailangan abangan na nila tayo sa second round I always say that pero ‘yun nga diba people say na sobrang young namin pero ‘yung talent namin if we know how to use them lang siguro we have a potential to be in the Final Four,” he added.
For their head coach Jamike Jarin, he is happy to finally get a win after five losses but he is putting premium on maturity as they brace for another tough duel against the Falcons and Franz Pumaren.
“Well it’s nice of course to get a win. The feeling is very good. But of course you’re facing one of the best basketball teams in college right now, arguably one of the best coaches with Franz Pumaren,” Jarin said. “Right now, if we win, they mature and I get young. When we lose, they still stay young and I get freakin’ old.”