UAAP: John Lloyd Clemente savors Final Four feeling again but work not yet done for NU
MANILA, Philippines — In his final year in the UAAP, John Lloyd Clemente is finally making his first Final Four appearance in the seniors’ division in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
Clemente, who last experienced a semifinals game with Nazareth School in the junior’s division last 2018, brought back the Bulldogs to the Final Four after pouring in 19 points in their 67-57 victory over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
“It really feels good because in high school we’re in the Final Four every year. We even made it to the Finals with coach Jeff Napa,” said Clemente, who was was part of the Bullpups’ champion team in Season 78, in Filipino. “That feeling is back. I finally experienced this feeling in my (collegiate career).”
Coach Jeff Napa steered Clemente and the Bulldogs back to the Final Four picture for the first time since Season 78, beating the team that eliminated NU in the 2015 semifinals.
But for the Bulldogs coach, his wards should not be contented by just ending a long Final Four absence as they want to go all the way to the top after gaining their fourth straight win with a 9-3 record in the second seed.
“I am the kind of person who doesn’t easily get contented because I know that the best is yet to come for my players. I will keep on bringing out the best in them up to our last game. It’s not just about basketball, they can also bring it in real life,” said Napa in Filipino. “I hope we remain focused on our goal regardless of what we’re achieving right now. Because Final Four is not our only target. We’re looking forward to achieving more.”
Good thing for Napa, his team captain Clemente remains hungry for more improvement in his final season.
“We still have a lot of lapses to improve, as coach Jeff said. We can’t be complacent because the level of competition is peaking, especially in our last two games and in the Final Four,” he said.
With two more games remaining in the elimination, NU has a chance to seal a twice-to-beat edge when it faces La Salle on Wednesday and Adamson on Saturday.
Clemente said to expect the Bulldogs to keep on proving themselves by letting their game do the talking.
“Sa gawa kami nagpapakita,” the NU skipper said. “Hindi lang kami puro salita, sabi nga ni Coach Jeff. Ginagawa lang namin yung trabaho namin.”