National University is looking beyond just snapping a seven-year Final Four drought in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines.
The Bulldogs ended the wait after a come-from-behind win over University of Santo Tomas, 67-57, on Sunday in Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, solidifying their hold of the second spot with a 9-3 win-loss record.
But for NU head coach Jeff Napa his squad’s position right now is just a small step towards a bigger goal.
“We’re not thinking of just the Final Four. We’re looking forward to what we want to achieve. So, this is just the start of the story that we want to have a good ending,” Napa said.
The Bulldogs snatched their first ticket to the semifinals since 2015, a year after NU won its last championship in the country’s premier collegiate league.
Roosting behind league-leading defending champion University of the Philippines, NU is also in a good position to snatch one of the two Final Four twice-to-beat advantages with just two more assignments left in its elimination round campaign.
The Bulldogs need to hurdle De La Salle University on Wednesday and Adamson University on Saturday to secure at least a playoff for the last semis bonus.
“What’s next? We’ll be back training. We have to be ready against La Salle. We have to be ready in our last two games of the second round. It’s not just the Final Four that we’re targeting,” Napa said.
Napa, who was a deputy of coach Eric Altamirano when the Troy Rosario-led NU defeated Far Eastern University in the Season 77 Finals to end a 60-year title drought, downplays the similarity of the 2014 championship team with NU’s current position.
“That’s a different story. That’s a different scenario because that 2014 team was really built to win it all. We want to write our own story,” he said.