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Napa, NU treasure being in Final Four race at this point of UAAP 84

The playoff hopes of National University are still hanging in the balance heading to the final day of eliminations of UAAP Season 84. 

Looking back, Jeff Napa’s squad began the second round on the wrong foot after losing four consecutive games against UP, Adamson, FEU, and Ateneo. After a resounding victory against UST, the Bulldogs added another win to their tally.

They improved to a 6-7 record after their latest triumph against UE on Thursday afternoon.

Despite having a two-game winning streak, Napa is well aware that the road ahead will be tough. His squad doesn’t have the last say on their chances to make it to the Final Four. In order to gain a better position in the standings, NU must put out all the stops to win its final game against La Salle on Sunday.

“’Di kami puwede maging complacent kasi wala na sa kamay namin ‘yung sitwasyon namin going to Final Four.

“So we have to be consistent on what we’re doing eh,” said Napa, a school great. “Kahit papano, ayokong makitang mag-relax ‘yung mga bata. Pero it’s still a good win for us para at least coming on Sunday against La Salle, medyo may baon kami. Confident mapaghahandaan ng todo namin talaga ‘to.”

Even if the Bulldogs win against the Green Archers, they still need FEU to lose its final game against UST in order to not have any complications in securing the fourth seed.

In hindsight, National University has not made it back to the Final Four since its last appearance in 2015. Since then, the Bulldogs have failed to find the right mix of personnel that can lead them back to title contention.

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Currently armed with a young rebuilding team, Napa knows that a change in culture must happen for his squad in order for them to accomplish the goals that they’ve set for themselves this season.

UAAP-84-Mens-Basketball-NU-vs-UST-Reyland-Torres-2-scaled Napa, NU treasure being in Final Four race at this point of UAAP 84 Basketball News NU UAAP  - philippine sports news

“We have to move forward. First things first, we have to change the culture.

“‘Yun ‘yung sinasabi ko sa kanila para… In order to become a winner, we should check ourselves first eh – kung tama ba yung ginagawa namin,” the multi-titled high school mentor stressed. “Kasi kung dun pa lang manalo na kami, madadala namin sa practice at tsaka sa game eh. So ‘yun ‘yung una ko na ipinaintindi, kasi mahirap talagang maging winner kung hindi magiging ganoon ang mindset mo.”

He also believes that his players already understand what’s at stake. They know the things that they have to do to successfully reach the Final Four this season.

At the end of the day, Napa is hoping that his squad will get to take full advantage of the opportunity at hand in order to not have regrets. This, regardless of the result that they will get by the end of their campaign.

UAAP-84-MBB-NU-vs.-FEU-Mike-Malonzo-2377 Napa, NU treasure being in Final Four race at this point of UAAP 84 Basketball News NU UAAP  - philippine sports news

“’Di na kailangang pressure-in ‘tong mga batang ‘to pagdating sa Final Four. Alam naman na rin nila yung sitwasyon namin eh. Still blessed kami kasi binigyan kami ng ganitong sitwasyon na kahit anong nangyari ‘nung first round tsaka nitong second round… Still, binigyan pa rin kami ng opportunity to compete dun sa semi-finals or Final Four,” said the 40-year-old Northport assistant coach.

“So ite-treasure na lang namin ‘to. Whatever it takes para at least yung approach ng mga bata tsaka yung mindset, tsaka whoever na papasok dito sa program namin, at least malalaman nila na eto yung mindset namin na hindi kami papasok ng talunan.

“Papasok kami na talagang winner na kami. Then we will compete up to the last para ‘yun nga wala kami magiging regret,” he closed.

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