NATIONAL University (NU) will try to shoot for a historic victory when it battles Far Eastern University (FEU) in the winner-take-all Game 3 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 men’s basketball finals at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The last time the Bulldogs won a UAAP title was in 1954 and their best accomplishment after that was when they finished second to University of the East in 1970.
NU head coach Eric Altamirano emphasizes that the will to win supercedes everything.
“We are not thinking about history or achievement. What’s important is to bring home the title. That’s what we worked for since the start of the season,” Altamirano told The Manila Times on Saturday in a phone interview. “I reminded the players to work hard.”
Altamirano, who assumed post as NU head coach in 2011, said that he would ask his wards to focus on defense.
“Defense will always be the key,” he said. “When you play FEU, you have to be ready to play defense against them and not only against certain players but also against all of them. All their players can contribute and score, so we must be ready.”
Besides forward Glenn Khobutin and 6’7 center Troy Rosario, playmaker Gelo Alolino, 6’7 Cameroonian Alfred Aroga, Rev Dipotado and gunner Jay Jay Alejandro will lead the Bulldogs’ charge on Wednesday.
In the other camp, FEU head coach Nash Racela will lean on the prowess of Mike Tolomia, Mac Belo, Archie Iñigo and 6’6 American Anthony Hargrove, among others, in their campaign to grab bag the Tamaraws’20th UAAP crown.
FEU won Game 1 (75-70) but NU ruled Game 2 (62-47).