MANILA, Philippines – In what is undoubtedly the most improbable trend happening so far in UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball, the NU Bulldogs dropped a close one for the fourth straight game, this time a 79-80 squeaker loss against the talented UP Fighting Maroons.
Highly touted recruit Kobe Paras had a lot to do with UP’s escape act from NU’s furious rallies as he led the team with 25 points on a 10-of-22 shooting.
However, after the game, it was also Paras who led in consoling the obviously dejected Ildefonso brothers Dave and Shaun, who paced the Bulldogs with 25 and 13 markers, respectively.
“I grew up with Shaun and Dave. When I started playing basketball, they were basically my teammates. So we have a bond that no one really knows about,” Paras said in the post-game presser.
“But I just told them to keep their heads up and they're gonna win a game soon. They're a great team, and coach Jamike (Jarin) does a wonderful job coaching them.”
“I'm just grateful that we got the chance to finish the game like this,” he continued. “Just like what coach said, we just need to learn how to close games. Shout out to coach Jamike and his players, they put up one hell of a game. Just like what I said in the last interview, we just have to focus on the next game.”
Likewise, UP head coach Bo Perasol spent most of the presscon heaping praise on his team’s foes.
“The difficult part of trying to rev up your team when you go up against a 0-3 team is them thinking that they can just go past that particular team,” he said. “NU is a lot, lot better than their 0-4 slate. If you're going to get into the margin of losses they had, I think that's going to be a record now.”
So while UP escaped with two straight one-point wins, NU has gone the other way with 3 of their 4 losses coming within a point and one being an overtime defeat.
“I went to [Jamike Jarin’s] dugout last game to encourage him,” Perasol continued. “The point that he is making right now is that he has to rise through this adversity as their leader. They are just 0-4. They could have easily beaten those 4, but it just went to the other side.”
Still, Perasol believes that a win is just within the horizon for the scrappy Bulldogs and Jarin, his former assistant during his head coaching stint in Ateneo.
“You feel bad, but you know that you have something to look forward to also.” – Rappler.com