Bullpups beat Junior Archers, but Napa unhappy with sloppy play
Defending champion NU tightened its defensive screws late to fend off a pesky De La Salle-Zobel side, 63-52, in the UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball tournament Tuesday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Winderlich Coyoca had a near double-double with 13 points and eight rebounds to lead the Bullpups, who tied Adamson in first place at 8-1.
“It wasn’t really a good win for us because we were too sloppy,” NU consultant Jeff Napa told INQUIRER.net.
“We can’t afford to play this way coming into our next game. We have to remind our boys that we can’t relax,” said Napa, whose squad clashes with fellow title contender Far Eastern University next on Saturday.
NU opened the game with eight unanswered points but failed to sustain its strong start as La Salle kept it close up until the last five minutes where the Junior Archers went on a dry spell.
“We expected Zobel to keep it close but through our experience and defense we can really accomplish anything,” Napa said.
Defense has been NU’s calling card under Napa and when the Bullpups went to their strength down the stretch, the Junior Archers simply had no answer for it.
La Salle, which only trailed by three, 46-43, through three quarters, was held to just two points inside the final five minutes.
With another victory, the Bullpups moved closer to securing a top two finish, but Napa stressed they are not looking too far ahead with still five games left in their elimination round schedule.
“Getting a twice-to-beat will be huge for us, but we’re not thinking about that right now. Our focus is on how to improve every game and we’ll take it from there.”
Martin Romero and Joaqui Mariano paced La Salle, which slipped to 2-7, with eight points each.