MANILA, Philippines – In the wake of National University's (NU) exit from the Final Four race in UAAP Season 80 last Saturday, head coach Jamike Jarin found some solace in the success of his former team, the San Beda College Red Lions.
Jarin was in the audience last Friday at the Araneta Coliseum when the Red Lions took down Lyceum of the Philippines University, 94-87, for a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three NCAA Season 93 Finals. It was a breakthrough for San Beda, as they lost both of their elimination round games to the Pirates.
Unfortunately, Jarin's current squad was unable to duplicate the feat of his former team. University of the Philippines routed the Bulldogs, 106-81, the very next day, eliminating them from playoff contention.
"I'm sad right now, of course," said Jarin after the defeat, which gave him a 5-9 record in his first season with the Bulldogs. "But you have to look at the bigger picture."
"We have to keep on moving," he also said. "(We have to) continue, and hopefully, 'yung mare-reach namin na journey, it's going to be sooner than later."
Jarin won the NCAA Season 92 championship with San Beda last season before making a much-publicized move to NU, where he replaced Eric Altamirano at the helm. Nevertheless, he remained as invested as ever in the Red Lions' campaign, and in the success of his former players.
"I'm just so happy that they finally won against LPU. They lost both games (in the eliminations), 'di ba?" said Jarin, who refused to be interviewed on Friday so as to keep the spotlight on the Red Lions.
"I was there as an alumnus. I'm just so proud of them," he beamed.
Jarin was especially proud of Robert Bolick, who scored 24 points and converted the big shots in the fourth quarter for San Beda. The coach has seen how Bolick transformed himself from a defensive-minded stopper to an all-around guard, and was not surprised to see him shine in the big stage.
"If you look at how he plays, he controls both ends," Jarin observed. "You'll notice how he makes the big shots – from FilOil, to the NCAA, to the D-League."
He is hopeful that Bolick and the rest of San Beda can pull off a similar feat on Thursday, when they face off against Lyceum for Game 2 at the Araneta Coliseum. However, Jarin knows it will be a tough task.
"Coach Topex (Robinson) has been so good as a coach. He won 18 straight (games), so it's not going to be hard for him to win one more game," Jarin pointed out.
The contrasting results of the games of his former team and current team did not gnaw at Jarin, who knew very well what he was giving up when he decided to leave the famed San Beda program for NU.
"I always say that this was a double-edged sword," said Jarin. "Every time you leave a program, you feel happy. I can't say that I'm happier now, because it is sad that I left San Beda. But we're still family. Ateneo, San Beda, Meralco, it's family."
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