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Sports

Bulldogs face Warriors; Perasol stays

Olmin Leyba - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - After somehow underachieving in the initial phase of action in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tourney, defending champion National U Bulldogs look to start charging again and turn things around.

“It’s important for us not to dwell on it (losses) and focus on our coming games,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano, whose wards got off to a 0-3 start, won their next three but yielded their last game, 59-61 to Far Eastern, to finish the first round at fifth spot.

The Bulldogs kick off their second-round campaign today against slumping University of the East (2-5) at the MOA Arena at 4 p.m. after the 2 p.m. duel between University of the Philippines (2-5) and Adamson U (1-6).

Altamirano said NU stays positive of its title defense.

“We’re still upbeat. We try to stay positive, there’s no point in dwelling in the past,” Altamirano said. “We have to win games that we can win and hopefully get some upsets so we can at least climb to the upper brackets.”

The Warriors were one of the teams that handed the Bulldogs a setback via a 76-71 decision last Sept. 12.

Lately, however, UE couldn’t get traction as they lost their last four games, including a 76-83 setback to pacesetting Santo Tomas last Wednesday.

In the other game, the Falcons seek to repeat over the struggling Maroons, whom they defeated only last Sunday, 73-68, for their maiden victory.

Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila president Fr. Jose Ramon Villarin yesterday put to rest speculations on the Blue Eagles coaching position, saying Bo Perasol still has management’s confidence and support.

“In view of recent rumors regarding the head coach position of the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the Ateneo de Manila would like to affirm that Bo Perasol remains the head coach of the Blue Eagles with the full support of the Ateneo and team management,” Villarin wrote in a memo to the AdMU community.

The Eagles ended the first round with a 4-3 record for third spot. Their three losses, however, were hard to swallow as they got blown out by Far Eastern and squandered double-digit spreads in the setbacks to Santo Tomas and La Salle, leading to some supporters asking for Perasol’s head.

Villarin admitted the University and management did have concerns over the team’s showing so far.

“We have had several conversations with our players and coaching staff, meeting them face to face and heart to heart. We have voiced our concerns about our playing and coaching performance in the first round.

“From external and internal feedback, and in the discipline of the Ignatian examen and this difficult discipline of self-awareness, we have noted and learned from our mistakes. I know we will continue to improve in the second round,” he said.

Villarin asked Ateneans for “loyal and unswerving support” to the team.

 

ACIRC

ADAMSON U

ALTAMIRANO

ATENEO

ATENEO BLUE EAGLES

BLUE EAGLES

BO PERASOL

ERIC ALTAMIRANO

FAR EASTERN

JOSE RAMON VILLARIN

VILLARIN

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