June 25, 2024

‘Nakatsamba’: Jeff Napa heaves sigh of relief after thrilling NU win over La Salle in OT

‘Nakatsamba’: Jeff Napa heaves sigh of relief after thrilling NU win over La Salle in OT

Jeff Napa couldn’t heave a sigh of relief until after the final buzzer of the NU Bulldogs’ thrilling 80-77 overtime win over the La Salle Green Archers in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.

After the gruelling match at the SM Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena on Sunday, the seasoned tactician kept it simple.

“Nakatsamba,” he said. “Nakatsamba kami, kasi given La Salle is a very strong team talaga.”

Indeed, the Bulldogs’ win was not handed to them on a silver platter. The Green Archers even had a golden chance to nab the dub with 12.9 ticks remaining in regulation, but Mike Phillips botched a pair of free throws that sent the game into overtime.

Then Patrick Yu, who finished with 12 points, happened.

Yu scored five straight points in the extra period, including a bank shot against Phillips that gave NU a 74-69 buffer with under two minutes to go.

The Bulldogs even led 77-70 in overtime, but the Green Archers refused to just roll over and die. An Evan Nelle triple allowed La Salle to pull to within two, but Kean Baclaan split his free throws in the ensuing possession and the Bulldogs grabbed their fourth win in five games.

Napa then praised his wards, who were coming off a dominant win over UST Growling Tigers, for not giving up. 

“Hindi bumitaw mga bata,” he said. “Everybody stepped up to the challenge na binigay ko sa kanila. At least makakahinga na ako ngayon.”

NU will next take on the UE Red Warriors on Wednesday at the MOA Arena. La Salle, on the other hand, will meet the undefeated UP Fighting Maroons later on that same day and in the same venue.