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Napa on Torres, Malonzo stepping up for NU: ‘Makakapal ang muka’

As National University fights on to try to book a post-season return for the first time since 2015, its mentor Jeff Napa knows that the Bulldogs need all the breaks they can get after four straight losses in the second round of the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Needing to keep his wards on his toes, Napa aired his disappointment towards his players after he felt they kept their feet off the pedal while coasting towards a 73-60 victory over University of Santo Tomas.

With the Bulldogs up by as much as 63-38 thanks to a Michael Malonzo basket with less than eight minutes remaining in the ballgame, the Growling Tigers were able to cut the deficit to just 55-65 off Aldave Canoy’s basket with 3:20 to go, which infuriated Napa.UAAP-84-MBB-NU-vs.-UST-Jeff-Napa-6032 Napa on Torres, Malonzo stepping up for NU: 'Makakapal ang muka' Basketball News NU UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

“Wala eh. Kumbaga porket malaki lang ang lamang, nag-relax so yun,” said the 40-year-old Northport assistant coach, “Yung mga nag-relax, sinabihan ko na umuwi na lang. Kung gusto nila maunang umuwi, umuwi na muna sila kasi hindi pa tapos ang laban, gusto ng umuwi na, mag-relax.

“Kaya nagpalit ako agad ng tao. Luckily, itong mga nasa tabi ko (Michael Malonzo and Reyland Torres) na makakapal ang mukha, nag step-up.”

With Torres and Malonzo stepping up, the Growling Tigers were held at bay. Both standouts had notable moments on the floor this evening as they maintained their intensity from start to finish.

Torres sank two consecutive three-pointers twice with the second time coming in the fourth quarter to give the Bulldogs a 71-55 cushion with 1:11 left on the clock. On the other hand, Malonzo had a strong dunk in the third quarter to provide NU with a 45-26 lead at the 5:35 mark.UAAP-84-MBB-NU-vs.-UST-Mike-Malonzo-6221 Napa on Torres, Malonzo stepping up for NU: 'Makakapal ang muka' Basketball News NU UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

#ReadMore  Current Lady Bulldogs hope to inspire next gen of Bullpups to stay in NU

“Yun nga po, yung sinabi sa akin ni coach na makapal na mukha, pinanindigan ko na lang para at least may masabi rin ako sa kanya at may maharap din ako sa kanya,” said Torres after his 18-point outing.

“Siguro din yung tiwala ni coach, nakikita rin niya sa ensayo kasi hindi naman mag-re-reflect ang mga ganung games ko or team ko kung hindi nakikita sa ensayo.”

“Ako po, tira ko lang po yung mga pinapagawa sa akin para makatulong lang sa team,” added Malonzo who contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Ultimately, NU needs everyone to keep their hands on deck to somehow steer the way towards the Final Four. As it is, it is already a tall order as their destiny is out of their hands.

With the Bulldogs’ mindset shifting towards University of the East on Thursday, Napa was pleased that he had two players who made sure to give everything on the floor no matter the circumstances.

“Makapal ang mukha nito (Torres) pero meron siyang kapal ng mukha to step up and become a leader kahit na rookie pa lang siya. Finally naman itong si Mike, nakuha niya rhythm niya. Hindi na nagpilit.”

All UAAP games stream live on GigaPlay presented by Yamaha. Download it now on Android or IOS.SMART-x-Yamaha Napa on Torres, Malonzo stepping up for NU: 'Makakapal ang muka' Basketball News NU UAAP UST  - philippine sports news

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