UAAP: NU coach expects Baclaan to settle down after jittery debut

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 02 2022 06:06 PM

NU guard Kean Baclaan in action against the UE Red Warriors. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN NNews.
NU guard Kean Baclaan in action against the UE Red Warriors. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA, Philippines -- His desire to make an immediate impact led to an uneven debut for National University rookie Kean Baclaan on Sunday, where the Bulldogs held on for a 77-70 win against University of the East.

Baclaan made a splash in the offseason after he bolted from University of Santo Tomas to NU despite playing for the Growling Tigers in a handful of preseason tournaments. He was included in the Bulldogs' line-up for UAAP Season 85 and became an immediate starter.

In nearly 26 minutes of action, Baclaan made three of nine shots for eight points to go along with five assists, four steals and three rebounds. However, he also had four turnovers and didn't quite find his rhythm on offense.

NU head coach Jeff Napa was not surprised that Baclaan didn't play consistently against the Red Warriors.

"Si Kean, bago pa eh," said Napa. "[He's] still adjusting pa sa tinatakbo namin. Baka may gigil factor din, gustong magpakita."

"Daming kasing naririnig yung pangalan niya, so may gigil factor," he added.

Baclaan won't deny that he was eager to showcase his talent. He had impressed during the preseason, even earning a Player of the Week award in the D-League. But his decision to leave for NU also raised eyebrows, especially among the UST community. 

"Sa sobrang daming sinasabi ng mga tao, siyempe sakin, gusto ko lang magpakita kung ano yung laro ko," said Baclaan. 

Napa expects the young guard to settle down in their next game, with first game jitters hopefully out of the way for Baclaan.

"Buti na lang tapos na yung first game, at least mare-relax na yung bata," said Napa. 

Baclaan, for his part, said he will focus on his adjustment to the NU system and Napa's style of play.

"Akin po kasi, nasa adjustment pa talaga ako sa NU. Wala pa akong two months sa NU," he said. "Siguro kailangan ko i-adjust yung depensa ko pa, 'yun lang."

NU will play the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday.

Catch replays of UAAP Season 84 games via the UAAP Varsity channel on iWantTFC, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.