Whatâs up with the NU Bulldogs?
NU Bullpups standouts Carl Tamayo (L) and Gerry Abadiano committed to join the UP Fighting Maroons.
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What’s up with the NU Bulldogs?
Rick Olivares (Philstar.com) - August 3, 2020 - 1:09pm

MANILA, Philippines – One of the biggest stories in local sports in the last couple of days has been the high-profile transfers of National University Bullpup stars Carl Tamayo, Gerry Abadiano and Kevin Quiambao to other schools for their college careers.

Tamayo and Abadiano are going to the University of the Philippines and Quiambao is earmarked for De La Salle University.

Their move escalates the arms race to topple Ateneo de Manila University from their lofty perch while it depowers NU.

We tried asking some people involved, and there have been no responses. So this is how we see it.

The players not going to NU for college means that something is amiss in the Sampaloc-based school. Obviously, these three players have been closely identified with their longtime coach Goldwyn Monteverde.  

Monteverde has tried to shield his team by being highly selective of what tournaments they participate in so as to avoid entreaties by other schools. Whether it’s right or wrong is altogether another matter.

By the players’ departure, does that mean Monteverde’s hold on the college job is in doubt?

Possibly.

I am told that he is now preparing for a three-peat in the juniors division. No mention was made of the seniors. Whether unintentional or not, let me offer my thoughts.

I guess, Monteverde probably regrets not taking the job offer from the University of the East. And he has been so snake-bit in the last few years, first with the dissolution of the Tiong Lian league after other schools balked big time at the recruitment policies of Chiang Kai Shek College and Hope Christian High School. Now, that is debatable because there are no rules. And in the absence of rules... you know what that means. 

Then there was the boom levied at him while Monteverde was with the Adamson Baby Falcons. What was a sure Juniors crown was snatched away over so-called irregularities. To this day, I think that Monteverde and Adamson were jobbed big time.

And there was the time when he was supposed to be Youth National Coach but had it taken away. Now there’s this “situation” with NU. What is it with the universe that seems to conspire with this man?

Let me just be clear about how I look at what Monteverde has achieved. I think he is a hell of a coach. Recruiting? That is part of his job; any coach’s job. And when I watched him, whether he has all-stars or not, I more often than not cannot fault his decisions. I think he is a damn good coach. 

On the other hand, what does this say about NU’s hoops program?

The three were supposed to be cornerstones in NU’s grand plan of nailing another UAAP title as they reload from the failure of the past several years. It would have even blunted Dave Ildefonso’s decamping back to Ateneo. And now… well. They face a huge setback. That is an understatement.

They aren’t short on stars so why have they underachieved in college hoops?

Let’s make no bones about this — NU has moneyed programs in high school and other collegiate squads. And most schools do not have that. They have spent huge sums to make their teams competitive and champions. Men’s college basketball, unfortunately for them, is another animal. This is the playground of the big boys. Tycoons even.

If you look at that title in Season 77, that was won with a supposedly weaker team. But the emphasis must be placed on “team.” In a team lacking in real stars, they shone bright. It might have been one in a million. But the team concept must not be overlooked.

Looking laterally, it is easy to say that Ateneo has stars or the money. Do they? Years ago, they had cast-offs and underachievers. Unheralded players who have all achieved the incredible. Furthermore, they did it as a team. 

So, is all lost for NU at this point? They have to really re-think a lot of what they do over there. Take stock of how they run things and the people they have appointed. 

That title win in Season 77? That almost did not happen as then head coach Eric Altamirano tendered his resignation the season before. The stay of a hand of one person despite the pleas of others for change was in hindsight a stroke of genius. However, when the weight of expectations was levied on the team, they crashed and burned.

And look at the composition of their coaching staffs in recent years. Are they seamless? If you don’t understand this then I think you have to observe teams even more. 

Years ago, NU tried to fix its culture by improving its educational and sports program not to mention their facilities and infrastructure. It has worked by leaps and bounds. Whatever one says about the money they splashed — again, there are no rules against it — it has worked. They splashed money to help seed a homegrown program. And if it has also helped their regular student population then it is all good. It cannot all be the Ateneos, De La Salles and UPs of this country. 

I asked one person related to one of their sports teams and he opined this perhaps isn’t over. There is hope that a last-minute resolution will be found and they will all be back on track. 

Now, if that happens… that’s another big story. 

As for Goldwyn Monteverde? 

You can’t keep a good coach down. He’ll find his place in the sun whether at NU or somewhere else. 

And that’s a big story as well.

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