UAAP: Coach Napa not satisfied after NU survives late Adamson rally

National University coach Jeff Napa. UAAP Media.
National University coach Jeff Napa. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines — National University (NU) coach Jeff Napa was less than pleased with how they finished their game against Adamson University last Saturday, although the Bulldogs still came away with the win.

The young NU squad eked out a 71-69 win against the Soaring Falcons to open their account in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament. The Bulldogs squandered a 14-point lead in the game, but survived after Adamson’s Ricky Peromingan missed two free throws that could have forced a tie.

Afterward, Napa acknowledged that “a win is a win” but made it clear that it was not a particularly satisfying triumph for him.

“Medyo hindi ako happy sa game, sa naging result ng game namin,” he admitted. “Coming to the last quarter, we have a big lead, and then we struggled pagdating ng fourth quarter.”

Napa took note of their poor execution in the fourth, particularly on the defensive end where they struggled to contain Adamson’s veteran point guard, Jerom Lastimosa.

Lastimosa fired 11 of his 18 points in the fourth period, including two free throws that brought them within one possession with under a minute to go.

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, Lastimosa misfired on a potential go-ahead triple, and while Peromingan was fouled on the rebound, he muffed both free throws.

“Kailangan pa din namin mag-improve,” said Napa. “Siguro ‘yung execution ang kailangan namin i-correct.”

“Although a win is a win, luckily we got that win, pero hindi kami pwedeng maging complacent ulit coming to the next games,” he added. “Unpredictable ‘yung season ngayon, talagang very competitive lahat ng school, kaya hindi pwedeng i-take for granted bawat isa.”

Napa also noted that he has quite a young team. Janjan Felicilda, their top scorer in the game with 14 points, is a rookie out of NU’s high school program, while Jake Figueroa, who hit a big shot down the stretch, was recruited from Adamson.

“Maraming bago, so we need to catch up, kailangan turuan ‘tong mga batang ‘to. Luckily naman, binigay sa amin ‘tong panalo na ‘to,” the coach said. “Marami pa kaming kailangan trabahuhin. So, day in, day out, para at least mag-improve pa kami, coming to the next game.”

NU will play De La Salle University (1-0) on Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

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