MANILA, Philippines – National University (NU) head coach Jamike Jarin said the Bulldogs have to "dig deep" after they absorbed their seventh loss of UAAP Season 82 on Sunday, when they bowed to De La Salle University, 85-61.
The Bulldogs had no answer for La Salle's Justine Baltazar, who put up 25 points and 25 rebounds against them in the best performance of his career. They trailed by 20 points at the half, 44-24, and after managing to cut the lead to 12 points with some six minutes left, the Bulldogs gave up a huge three-pointer to Aljun Melecio that restored order for La Salle.
"You have to give credit to them (La Salle). We really played bad, we played bad," Jarin told reporters after the game. "Both ends, offensively, defensively."
"We shot poorly, we were throwing the ball. Start of the game, that was it eh," he added, referring to their early turnovers that allowed the Green Archers to claim a 26-9 lead after the opening frame.
"That's how we started, and we weren't able to recover."
NU has now lost back-to-back games after their breakthrough 61-39 triumph against Far Eastern University (FEU) in the first round. In both matches, Jarin had been far from pleased with how his team performed on both ends of the floor.
They bowed to University of the East, 78-72, to end the first round in what Jarin said was their most frustrating defeat. Instead of bouncing back, they followed it up with another flat effort against the Green Archers.
At 1-7, the season is slowly slipping away from the Bulldogs.
"We're all looking for answers," said Jarin. "Like what I said, we didn't play the way we play eh. It's just siguro a combination of a lot of things. We have a young team, excitement, mga ganoon."
"Let's see. We just have to dig deep right now," he added.
Making their past two games all the more frustrating is that NU made a habit of being competitive in the first round, with three one-point losses and another defeat that came in overtime.
They have not been able to put up the same kind of fight in their past two games, however, and Jarin is still looking for ways to come up with a fix to their woes.
In the meantime, he admits that it might be time for them to press the panic button.
"But, of course, you just continue to push," he said. "You continue to push and you continue to compete and hope for the best."
NU returns to action on Wednesday against FEU.
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