The NU Bulldogs opened Season 80 of the UAAP with a convincing 86-69 win over the UE Red Warriors on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Dave Yu caught fire as he ended up with career-high of 14 points on an efficient 5-for-8 shooting clip. Veteran gunslinger Jayjay Alejandro had an all-around game of 11 points, five rebounds, seven assists, and five steals.
The victory by the Bulldogs also marked the very first win of Jamike Jarin as a head coach in the UAAP.
“It feels good that we won, but a lot of things to work on, especially this early. A lot of mistakes, a lot of excitement,” Jarin said.
NU is looking to bounce back from their Season 79 campaign when they didn’t enter the Final Four after a dismal 5-9 finish.
“We’re just very happy that we got the win on opening day. In two hours, we could call ourselves, we’re number one. After two hours, we’re tied with number one. That’s a good feeling. Tomorrow, two teams will win again. We’re tied for number one! At least we got number one for a week,” Jarin joked.
Jarin is only in his first year at the head coaching position in the UAAP but he is a veteran in the league as a former assistant coach for the Ateneo Blue Eagles. He also had a decorated coaching career in the high school ranks with Ateneo. And most notably, he is fresh from leading the San Beda Red Lions to the NCAA championship a season ago.
NU unleashed a brutal 17-3 run in the third quarter that blew the game wide open. In that stretch, Yu displayed his outside shooting to the delight of the NU bench.
“In the third quarter, we just played good defense talaga. Yun yung sinasabi ni coach Jamike kasi medyo nung first half, sloppy kami. Kaya nung third quarter, kailangan talagang bumawi,” Yu said about his performance.
For UE, second year forward Alvin Pasaol tallied 14 points and four rebounds. Mark Maloles and Rey Acuno had 10 points apiece in the losing effort. The Red Warriors managed to keep in step with the Bulldogs but unfortunately lost steam. They were also manhandled in the rebounding department, 61-42, which led to a lot of scoring opportunities for the Bulldogs.
“I inherited the team and credit goes to coach Eric Altamirano and his coaching staff,” Jarin mentioned about coaching the Bulldogs. “We inherited a team that’s very disciplined and very determined. So it was just a way of introducing the new thing. But I’m happy with the way things are going. So let’s just hope and pray and work harder and hopefully we’ll be there.”
The Bulldogs hope to continue their winning ways when they take on the defending champions La Salle Green Archers next Saturday.