National University’s heartbreaking 84-77 loss to De La Salle on Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum effectively put an end to its campaign in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament.
The loss brought the Bulldogs to a 3-9 record and eliminated them from the Final Four with two more games to spare in their schedule, and head coach Jamike Jarin took full responsibility for the failed campaign.
“It’s been very disappointing this year, but again, I take full responsibility for it,” said Jarin. “We have a young team, so we just have to be patient with all the things that we need to do. Of course we could’ve done better.”
“I take all the blame.”
Jarin’s time with the Bulldogs hasn’t been as fruitful as his previous tenures with San Beda and especially Ateneo where he became a multi-title coach with the Blue Eaglets.
And it’s not as if NU entered Season 81 without a proper amount of hype after former high school stars John Lloyd Clemente and Dave Ilefonso and Gilas cadet Troy Rike joined the team.
Although Jarin had a talented roster, he didn’t have players who have enough experience in the collegiate game with nine of the Bulldogs either a sophomore or a freshman.
“As you can see, you’ve got a very good fortune in front of you, not only NU basketball but also Philippine basketball in particular,” said Jarin who also won an NCAA title with the Red Lions in 2016.
“These are the things that you get up in the morning and be excited to work with them because every time you wake up, it’s a day that they mature.”
The best that the Bulldogs can do this tournament is match their five-win tally from Season 80, but that didn’t stop Jarin from thinking ahead.
“Hopefully we get over the hump, and the next time we’re going to talk, we’re talking about the Final Four and probably the Finals next year.”
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