Relief was all over the face of Nazareth School of National University head coach Goldwin Monteverde last March 9.
Finally, he and the Bullpups could rest after capping their dominant UAAP Season 82 run with an 87-80 win over Far Eastern University-Diliman to complete a 16-game sweep of the tournament.
Indeed, it was a long road to the championship for this batch of Bullpups.
“Definitely ‘yung mental kasi we’ve been practicing since April. Na-prolong ‘yung league natin because of the coronavirus,” said Monterverde, since the Bullpups joined several tournaments during the build-up to the season — including the NBTC, PSSBC, and MMBL.
“We have to sustain ‘yung focus, sustain ‘yung energy namin para throughout the whole year.”
Besides this, Monteverde had had to juggle two hats since December.
One of the brightest young coaches in the game today was named as the head coach of the Bulldogs as well. This meant that he had to train two different squads on a daily basis.
Still, it did not affect how Monteverde trained the Bullpups.
“Sa training naman, ‘di naman siya ganun ka-strict talaga. Gusto ni coach na every time na pumasok sa loob ng court, bibigay lang namin best namin no matter what happens. Or magkamali man kami, ano man mangyari, bigay namin best namin sa game man o sa training,” said graduating guard Gerry Abadiano.
“Sa court, minsan siyempre ‘di mo maiiwasan mapapagalitan ka. Minsan nagkakasamaan ng loob. Pero after that, parang tatay naman namin siya eh. Kung may problema kami, sa kanya rin kami lalapit. Kung may mga bagay kami ‘di maiintindihan, sa kanya rin kami lalapit,” chimed Abadiano’s batchmate Carl Tamayo.
“Wala naman kami dito naka-upo ngayon kung ‘di dahil kay coach.”
The future of Monteverde with the Bullpups remains in the air, however. Still, he disclosed that he will be in talks with the school’s brass during the summer.
But for now, he just plans to savor this championship.
“Tuluy-tuloy naman. Pero for now siguro enjoyin muna namin ‘to.”