MANILA, Philippines – The National University Bulldogs are well aware that they do not control their destiny in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament.
With a 5-8 win-loss record and just one game left in their elimination round schedule, the Bulldogs hopes of making the Final Four are hanging by a thread. They will need to beat University of the Philippines on Saturday, then hope that Far Eastern University loses to Adamson, just to force a playoff for the No. 4 spot.
The long odds do not faze NU coach Jamike Jarin, however. After they kept their season alive with a come-from-behind 87-84 win over the Tamaraws on Wednesday, he said that the Bulldogs have no other choice but to simply focus on what they can control.
"We've got a game on Saturday," he said. "We don’t have any control of the other games."
"But rest assured, we'll still give our best, no matter what," he added. "I'm hoping for a miracle, of course."
For the jovial NU coach, the difficult task that awaits them on Saturday, combined with the atmosphere of uncertainty surrounding the tournament in the final two game days of the elimination round, is part of what makes the league so entertaining.
"In the pre-game that we had, I told everybody that the reason why people watch sports is because in sports, there's drama, there's action, there's thrill, there's horror, there's comedy, there's romance," he said.
"That's why people watch sports – it's unscripted," he added.
The Bulldogs are determined to seize control of their own story, said Jarin, which led to their inspired effort against the FEU Tamaraws last Wednesday.
"We want to be the scriptwriter today. Sinabi ko 'yun, let's win. The script today was we wanted to win," he said.
They will continue to try to do so on Saturday, even as they go up against a UP team that is equally determined to pen a happy ending for themselves.
"We will try to continue making our own script," Jarin said of his Bulldogs.
National U plays UP at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.
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