Eric Altamirano braces for worst as he prepares Bulldogs for possible playoff against UE Red Warriors
National University coach Eric Altamirano is taking it one step ahead as he prepares the Bulldogs for a possible playoff against the UE Red Warriors for the fourth and final berth in the UAAP Final Four. Jaime Campos

NATIONAL University is bracing for the worst as the Bulldogs prepare for a possible playoff against University of the East for the remaining berth in the UAAP men’s Final Four.

The Bulldogs lost to the Green Archers on Saturday, 68-56, and fell to a 9-5 win-loss record, missing out on a playoff for the No. 2 spot in the Final Four against Far Eastern University.

NU however, can clinch the no. 4 seeding outright if UE (8-5) loses to University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday at the end of the two-round eliminations at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

[See La Salle earns playoff for No. 2 spot after emphatic win over Bulldogs]

Nonetheless, NU coach Eric Altamirano isn’t taking any chances and is preparing for a scrap against the red-hot Warriors.

“Right now, we just want to prepare for UE,” said Altamirano. “That’s our mindset. We aren’t even going to wait for what will happen. We are going to prepare for a playoff game against UE.”

Altamirano believed the Final Four cast would have been completed if La Salle played against UE the way the Archers did against the Bulldogs. The Warriors’ win over the Archers gave them a shot at the fourth and final spot in the semifinals.

“They were really able to assert themselves. I hope ganun din nilaro nila against UE,” said Altamirano, laughing.

Gelo Alolino and Troy Rosario were the only bright spots for NU with 18 and 14 points, respectively, in the loss to the Archers. That doesn't cut it for Altamirano.

“I’ve been saying all season that it needs to be a collective effort. Kapag may absent na isa, mahihirapan kami. If you noticed in all our games, we win if everybody contributes. Sometimes, our defense held up, natutulungan kami ng defense. But today, we gave up too many points. That was big for us,” Altamirano said.

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