MANILA, Philippines -- Jamike Jarin's first post-game press conference as a victorious coach in UAAP Season 82 was quite unconventional.
Usually, the winning coach will be accompanied by just one or two players. But after National University (NU) finally broke through with an impressive 61-39 triumph over Far Eastern University (FEU) on Wednesday afternoon, Jarin brought his entire team to the press room.
The Bulldogs all crowded around the table, and Jarin was quick to put the spotlight on his players. NU had endured a 0-5 start -- with three of those losses coming by just one point, and another coming in overtime -- before finally barging into the win column.
"The reason I brought all these young men here (is) because we win together, we lose together," said Jarin. "'Di ba? That's our mantra -- walang iwanan."
The NU coach made a quick exit, instead ceding the floor to the Bulldogs.
"Sila 'yung bida," he insisted. "Sila 'yung naglalaro. They deserve all the credit."
The Bulldogs were in control from start to finish against a lackluster FEU team, taking a 39-13 lead at the halftime break and leading by as much as 29 points in the game. They limited the Tamaraws to just 19% shooting from the field, and were never under duress in the second half.
Team captain Shaun Ildefonso, who had 8 points in the win, said the Bulldogs were determined to finally end their losing streak after absorbing a painful defeat to defending champion Ateneo de Manila University last Sunday.
"For me, I think iba 'yung hunger namin coming into this game. Sinasabi ko sa kanila 'yun. '0-5 na tayo, let’s get that win,'" he said. "Sabi ko sa kanila, kanina pang umaga, dapat iba na 'yung drive niyo for this game."
Ildefonso was glad to see that his teammates responded, particularly on the defensive end where they completely stifled the Tamaraws.
"Meron kaming lapses na kaunti sa opensa, pero you know, it all went for us in the end," he added.
The Bulldogs now have a 1-5 win-loss record heading into their final game of the first round against University of the East, and Jarin said he expects the same kind of effort and intensity from his players on Sunday when they play the Red Warriors.
"We cannot relax because we only have one win," he pointed out. "I'm sure they're matured enough right now. "
"If you saw us, how we played today, you will all agree that we just played good team offense and team defense. We had a few lapses in the end, but we stuck together," he added.
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