UAAP: Slumping National University shows signs of life

A cheerful Jamike Jarin joked that he was confined in a hospital days before National University picked up an impressive 88-61 win over UE on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

But seeing how his team’s season has been going before that victory, no one could’ve blamed him for needing to take a breather.

It’s been a stressful UAAP Season 81 for the Bulldogs, who went into a freefall after showing out in their opening game against UST. They currently stand at 2-5 on the standings, which means they will probably need a near-flawless second round (and luck on their side) in order to snatch a Final Four slot.

Winning today was a good start towards that goal.

“It always feels good when you win. It’s been a long time. I just got out of the hospital. I was in ICU because of the losses we had. I was clinically dead but because of these young men, there are more reasons to get up and work harder,” Jarin playfully said.

Against UE, the Bulldogs were able to hold their foes to just 35.4 percent shooting from the field while winning the battle on the rebounds (55-31).

They also managed tally season-highs in points (88), field goal percentage (48.6) and assists (20) despite hitting less threes (6-for-21) than their counterparts (8-for-31).

NU’s young core did a splendid job in giving their head coach something to be optimistic about. Led by rookies John Lloyd Clemente and Dave Ildefonso, the Bulldogs steamrolled the Red Warriors from start to finish for their most convincing game so far.

Clemente played his best game of the season by scoring 21 points and grabbing four rebounds, while Ildefonso had a balanced outing with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

“It’s because of these young men, not only these two but also the rest, the coaches and the management around me. That’s why you try to get up from the dead. We’re dead right now, but we’re gonna get up.”

Today’s showing was also an indication that Jarin will continue to spread the wealth wherever he goes. Two other players scored in double-figures — Issa Gaye and Shaun Ildefonso both had 12 apiece — and 10 others who stepped on the floor for National University managed to score at least a single point.

“Everybody who’s followed me when I was still in Ateneo and San Beda [will know that] the wealth is always distributed. I like it that way because in the long run, I know it will benefit me and the team more. It was in full display right now,” Jarin said.

His team will gun to beat on Wednesday a deep Adamson squad, whom he called one of the top teams in collegiate basketball today.

“The feeling is very good, but of course you’re facing one of the best basketball teams in college right now and probably arguably one of the best coaches with Franz Pumaren. We got our hands full right now but of course, we got three days to rest and prepare,” said Jarin.

“Good thing we have the same schedule, that we played on the same day today and that we’re gonna play three days after. So there’s no advantage right now except for their experience and maturity,” he added.

THE SCORES

NU (88) – Clemente 21, Ildefonso Dave 14, Gaye 12, Ildefonso Shaun 12, Rike 6, Yu 4, Galinato 4, Diputado 4, Joson 2, Sinclair 2, Diputado 2, Morido 2, Aquino 2, Salim 2, Tibayan 1, Malonzo 0, Gallego 0.

UE (61) – Pasaol 20, Conner 15, Manalang 10, Maloles 5, Acuno 4, Varilla 3, Bartolome 2, Beltran 2, Cullar 0, Strait 0, Sobrevega 0, Lacap 0, Gallardo 0, Guion 0.

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