NU coach says last year's finals loss to Ateneo served as Bullpups top motivation in scoring sweep, return to finals
John Lloyd Clemente and the Bullpups look to bring back the trophy after a heartbreaking finals loss last year. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL University is two wins away from the title, holding a thrice-to-beat edge and the Bullpups led by Justine Baltazar and John Lloyd Clemente could match the season sweep two years ago by an NU juniors team featuring Hubert Cani and Mark Dyke.

But coach Jeff Napa believes that more than matching their Season 76 mark, the Bullpups have been focusing on redemption after a heartbreaking defeat in Season 77.

Napa hopes that after winding up on the losing end of a championship series, this new breed of Bullpups would be a lot more determined to win, regardless who makes it out of the stepladder semifinals.

NU made it to the finals outright after a 14-game sweep of the eliminations, and now battling for the right to face the Bullpups are No. 4 Far Eastern University, third seed Ateneo and No. 2 De La Salle-Zobel.

“Alam nila kung gaano kasakit. Ngayon, nandoon na ‘yung maturity nila. Alam na nila ‘yung gagawin coming into the finals,” said Napa.

The stepladder playoff begins on Wednesday with a match between Ateneo and FEU.

That means the Bullpups will have at least a week off, but Napa is looking to keep his players sharp by arranging tune-up games.

“Mas maging hungrier dapat kami kasi wala pa kaming naaaccomplish. ’Yun ’yung motto namin, day in day out, mas hungrier dapat kami. Kung ano ’yung effort na ginagawa ng kabilang team, dapat i-triple namin,” Napa said.

Napa also said he likes the attitude of the players during the elimination round and would like it to maintain it in the finals.

“Kung meron man maiiwan na isa, sasamahan nilang i-angat. ’Yun ’yung nakikta kong character sa kanila. Pinupush nila ang isa’t isa,” said Napa.

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