MANILA, Philippines—Defending champion National University has yet to be beaten after four games in the FilOil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup.
But despite its solid start, head coach Eric Altamirano believes his team is still far from where it wants to be.
“We’re still a work in progress,” Altamirano said, after the Bulldogs survived a fourth quarter rally by Far Eastern University for a 67-64 win Wednesday night. “Every game we try to learn from it, we try to find out what the things we still need to improve on.”
“Like today we didn’t do a great job on our ball screen defense, our transition defense was not that good. When we go to practice at least we know what we need to work on,” added Altamirano, whose squad claimed the solo lead in Group A.
And those concerns defensively Altamirano pointed out almost cost them the game, where NU once held a 13-point lead, 53-40, with under nine minutes left.
The Bulldogs saw their lead dwindle as the Tamaraws closed to within a point, 64-65, after RR Garcia stole the ball from Ray Parks on a trap that led to a layup by Terrence Romeo despite getting fouled by Emmanuel Mbe with 23.9 ticks left.
Parks atoned for his crucial error with a big defensive rebound on a miss triple by Carl Cruz before getting fouled and making two free throws that set the final tally with 6.5 seconds remaining.
“It was a tough game for us. We knew RR Garcia and Terrence Romeo would assert themselves in the second half.”
Garcia nailed two treys in the final 1:43 en route to a 14-point night while Romeo recorded 25 points. FEU dropped to 1-2.
The Bulldogs will fly to Australia on May 25 as part of their UAAP buildup.