UAAP Season 79 Preview: Young Bulldogs to bank on chemistry
Head coach: Eric Altamirano
Last year: 7-7
Key losses: Gelo Alolino, Paolo Javelona, Kyle Neypes
Key holdovers: Alfred Aroga, Jay Alejandro, Rev Diputado
Key additions: Joshua Sinclair, Matt Salem, Matt Aquino
National University may lack in experience but its head coach Eric Altamirano feels having built good teamwork will counter that weakness.
“It’s a completely new look for us. We have a lot of young players so we’re going to be very different from the team that we had two years ago,” Altamirano told INQUIRER.net.
“For a young team, the experience is always the concern, but I like the blending of the old and the new. I can see that they have good chemistry and they work together so I think the team is coming along very well.”
With the departure of Gelo Alolino, Paolo Javelona and Kyle Neypes, Alfred Aroga remains as the lone player from NU’s core two years ago when it won the UAAP title.
The three veterans, especially Alolino and Javelona, provided leadership and backcourt stability last season where the Bulldogs made the Final Four as the No. 4 seed.
Though their absence is a big loss, Altamirano believes his current players will be able to fill the hole by working together.
“Leadership should come as a collective effort. We need everyone to have that, we expect everyone to lead because we have a lot of young players. But Jay (Alejandro) and Alfred (Aroga) are going to be key for us in that aspect,” said Altamirano.
Aroga was the Finals MVP during the Bulldogs’ historic title run, while Alejandro is expected to have a breakout year as one of the veterans that will try to lead a young group back in championship contention.
“We have good chemistry and I believe that this year we will be able to contend against other teams.”
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