Denied a championship double, NU Bullpups start fresh next season as five players graduate
NU consultant Jeff Napa hopes new players would be able to fill in the void to be left by five veterans. Jerome Ascano

ALTHOUGH National University has proven to have an effective high school basketball program with three titles in six years, it has yet to make its mark as back-to-back champions, getting denied this time by Far Eastern University.

Now the Bullpups gear up for their next campaign, setting sights on not only a return to the top of the UAAP but the elusive double.

“Hindi lang talaga ma-break ‘yung jinx ng back-to-back,” NU consultant Jeff Napa said. “Hopefully, next year, makuha uli namin para maka-buwelo kami.”

The Baby Tamaraws swept the Season 79 juniors finals series.

[See FEU completes finals sweep of NU Bullpups to win first UAAP juniors title in five years]

NU won in 2011, 2014 and 2016, and entered Season 79 hoping to finally score successive titles.

The Bullpups boosted their chances by taking the top seeding in the semifinals with an 11-3 win-loss record but were stopped by the Baby Tamaraws, who won for the first time in five years.

Napa gave credit to FEU in its title win, saying that the team was ripe to win the title.

“FEU deserved to win. Nag-mature na sila ng sobra. Give credit to the coaches, hindi sila bumitaw sa dulo,” said Napa, adding the Baby Tamaraws showed poise thanks to the veterans, while the Bullpups, although coming off a championship run, had a bunch of inexperienced players.

“’Yung iba, wala pang experience kasi hindi lahat kasama sa championship team. ‘Yung iba gigil. Dun kami nag-struggle. Outrebounded talaga kami. Bumuhay sa kanila ‘yung rebounds and second chance points, hindi namin napigilan,” said Napa.

“They gave their best,” said Napa, referring to NU. “FEU deserved to win the championship.”

NU will see new faces next season, with five players graduating led by John Lloyd Clemente, who was named to the Mythical Five.

“Panibagong batch na. Ibang mukha naman for next year. Hopefully, makabalik kami next year,” Napa said.

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