National University head coach Aris Dimaunahan gave the Lady Bulldogs 24 hours to lament and reflect on the mistakes they made that snapped their historic 108-game winning streak in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines women’s basketball tournament.
After that, it’s back to the usual grind as the Lady Bulldogs vow to storm back better, stronger entering the crucial stretch of Season 85.
The Lady Bulldogs saw their record-setting 108 winning run come to an end with a 57-61 overtime loss to De La Salle University on Wednesday at the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavilion in Manila.
It also halted their 12-game winning streak this season and set the stage for a Final Four for the first time in almost a decade.
“We’ll have 24 hours to feel sorry for this,” Dimaunahan said following the sorry setback to the same squad that dealt them their last defeat nine years ago.
“The next hour will be moving forward for them.”
The Lady Archers topped the Lady Bulldogs in Game 3 of the Season 76 Finals, 69-61, on 5 October 2013. Since then, NU lorded over the competition for the next six years.
“I think the next 24 hours will be dealt with. I told them if they need to cry over it, then do it,” Dimaunahan said.
The mentor, a former Barangay Ginebra San Miguel role player, added that they need to dust themselves off as their main goal does not end with a single loss in the eliminations.
“But the challenge really is after 24 hours, what do you do? Bounce back and again, the goal of this team is not to get the (winning) streak. The goal of this team is to win the championship,” he said.
“When you ask me about the awards, individual awards, mythical awards, we don’t look at them because the main goal really is to win the championship. That’s where our focus will be. We don’t look at the records. If it happens, it happens,” Dimaunahan added.
Despite the stain in their erstwhile perfect record, the Lady Bulldogs are already assured of a Final Four spot and a twice-to-beat advantage.
NU’s character will be tested on Saturday when they face Adamson University at the close of the elimination round.
“The real challenge for us now is how well we can bounce back after this loss. How well could we really turn the tide in a short span after being beaten,” Dimaunahan, who was a deputy of former head coach Pat Aquino during NU’s 96-game win romp, said.
A big challenge to bounce back also awaits rookie Tin Cayabyab, Camille Clarin and Ann Pingol, who all had terrible shooting clips during their loss to La Salle.
Cayabyab only had seven points on 3-of-12 shooting, Clarin also had seven on 2-of-11 shooting while Pingol had a paltry six markers.