Gelo Alolino says playing in several do-or-die games helped Bulldogs go this far in UAAP Finals
Playing in three previous do-or-die games prior to the UAAP Finals, including two in the Final Four, has helped the cause of National University in its title series against Far Eastern University, said guard Gelo Alolino. Jaime Campos

GELO Alolino admitted playing in three do-or-die games prior to the UAAP Finals helped the cause of National University in staving off outright eliminations following the Bulldogs’ emphatic 62-47 win over Far Eastern University Tamaraws in Game Two of the best-of-three title series.

Yet as much as possible, he’d rather not rely too much on it especially as the Bulldogs and Tamaraws duke it out for one last time on Wednesday for all the marbles.

“Siguro ‘yung mentality na do-or-die, nakatulong. Pero iba pa rin ‘yung situation ngayon kasi finals na eh,” said Alolino.

“It’s a must-win na dahil do-or-die. Sabi nga namin, we are not really used to it naman pero marami na kaming do-or-die games,” he stressed.

The Game Two win that leveled the best-of-three series at 1-all, was the fourth do-or-die situation for the Bulldogs dating back to their playoff win over University of the East that sealed their place as the fourth-ranked team in the Final Four.

Two more victories against twice-to-beat Ateneo also kept them alive in Season 77 as NU became only the second fourth-seeded team in Final Four history to oust a top-seeded squad.

And the experience in do-or-die situations definitely played a major role in the Bulldogs’ Game Two victory over the Tamaraws, according to Alolino.

But the NU point guard stressed, playing in another rubber match with the championship on the line doesn’t mean they have the advantage against the opposition.

Alolino believes NU still has to rely on its trademark defense to win it all, notwithstanding the fact it limited FEU to its lowest point output in Season 77 the last time.

“Sa offense, more flow pa like sa shooting. But we look forward to live and die on our defense.

‘Yun lang ang maipagmamalaki namin. Kung kaya pa naming mas maging sharp, gagawin pa namin na mas better,” said Alolino.

The Bulldogs are trying end the school's long 60-year title drought in the UAAP after winning their first and only title in 1954.

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