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UAAP: Despite misfortunes, NU coach stays positive

NU head coach Jamike Jarin (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

NU head coach Jamike Jarin (MB photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

By Jerome Lagunzad

National University coach Jamike Jarin is not eager on pushing the panic button just yet. But his fingers are certainly hovering above it.

After all, the Bulldogs have dropped their last three matches – all against top Final Four contenders – in a brutal stretch last week that raised questions about their capability to make some noise in UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament.

Jarin, however, is not losing hope he can help NU turn things around at the close of its campaign in the first round of play against University of the Philippines on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

“We’re still in it,” he said, keeping himself positive amid an alarming skid that had them running at sixth spot with a 2-4 record.

While skipper J-Jay Alejandro is doing what he’s supposed to do with averages of 18.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.7 steals, his fellow veterans, including co-captain Matt Salem, have been blowing hot and cold that typifies NU’s campaign so far.

The 6-foot-3 Salem, considered as one of the Bulldogs’ top gunners, is on a slump, averaging just four points on a woeful 23 percent shooting clip in the course of their current dry spell.

“I keep telling him even during the summer that he will have a bigger role this year so he has to play better.

Outside of him, there’s really no other threat offensively at the 4-spot,” said Jarin.

Still, the first-year NU tactician is seeing silver lining on the horizon.

Senegalese big man Issa Gaye, as long as he keeps himself out of foul trouble, is a force to be reckoned with down low while marksman Dave Wilson Yu can get himself on a streak once he gets his offensive rhythm.

Rookie Jordan Bartlett has shown early glimpse of his true potential while promising big men Matthew Aquino and Tzaddy Rangel are capable of making their presence felt on both ends.

“There’s a lot of expectations and things could only just get better. Again like what like what I’ve said, let’s just dust up ourselves and get back on the drawing board and keep this train moving,” Jarin concluded.