TROY Rosario wants National University to redeem itself from last year’s shocking exit in the UAAP Final Four as the Bulldogs face defending champion De La Salle for the right to earn a playoff for the no. 2 spot in the Final Four.
The tussle between the Green Archers and Bulldogs is set at 6 p.m. on Saturday.
The Bulldogs were the top-seeded team in the semis last year, but failed to take advantage of their twice-to-beat incentive after losing twice in a row to University of Santo Tomas.
A win over the Archers would earn the Bulldogs a playoff against the loser of the first game between Far Eastern University and Ateneo for the No. 2 spot.
Rosario admits the experience of losing a twice-to-beat advantage in last year’s semis is definitely a big motivation for the Bulldogs.
“Malaking baon sa amin ‘yun. I think malaking tulong ‘yung nangyari sa amin last year. Babaunin namin ‘yun,” Rosario said. “Pero nasa amin pa rin ‘yun.”
The Bulldogs are currently tied with the Archers in the standings on similar 9-4 win-loss slates. A loss, however, will drop the team to fourth place and a possible playoff with University of the East (8-5) for the final semis spot if the Red Warriors beat University of Santo Tomas on Tuesday.
Rosario said the La Salle game will be the biggest test this season for the Bulldogs.
“I think ‘yun ang pinaka-big game sa amin. Kailangan lang namin gawin ‘yung best namin para makuha ‘yung game na ‘yun. Kailangan lang namin gawin ‘yung ginagawa namin katulad ng teamwork at working hard sa defense namin kung saan kami malakas,” he said.
After the Bulldogs came away with a 75-64 win over University of Santo Tomas, NU coach Eric Altamirano sees a daunting task of going up against La Salle even though the Archers are fresh from a 68-66 heartbreaker against UE on Wednesday.
“Pagka-ganyang crucial games, talagang ‘yung experience will come in. And then, La Salle beat us in the first round. We really have to work together and play hard against La Salle,” said Altamirano.
The soft-spoken mentor, however, is glad the Bulldogs’ destiny is still in their hands and that they only need to play as a team to achieve their goal.
“We run our own race. Ang importante is we take care of our own business and then we will see from there kung saan kami aabot,” said Altamirano.