MANILA, Philippines — During his final year at UAAP, John Lloyd Clemente finally made his first appearance in the Seniors Finals in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
Clemente, who most recently went through a semi-final against Nazareth School in the youth league in 2018, sent the Bulldogs back to the Finals after picking up 19 points in their final. 67-57 win over University of Santo Tomas Tigers growl on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“It was really fun because in high school we both made it to the Finals every year. We even made it to the Finals with coach Jeff Napa,” Clemente, who was part of the Bullpups championship team in Season 78, said in Filipino. “That feeling is back. I finally experienced this feeling in my (college career).”
Coach Jeff Napa sent Clemente and the Bulldogs back to the Finals for the first time since Season 78, beating the team that eliminated NU in the semifinals of 2015.
But for the Bulldogs coach, his wards shouldn’t be content to have just finished a long quarter-final in absence as they want to go a long way to the top after picking up a fourth straight win with 9-3 against the second seed.
“I am the type of person who is not easily satisfied because I know that the best is yet to come for my players. I will continue to give their best until our last match. It’s not just about basketball, they can bring it to life,” Napa said in Filipino. “I hope we stay focused on our goals regardless of what we are achieving right now. Because the Final Four is not our only goal. We look forward to achieving more.”
Good thing for Napa, his team’s captain Clemente is still hungry for more improvement in his final season.
“We still have a lot of flaws to improve, as coach Jeff said. We can’t be complacent because the level of competition is at its peak, especially in our last two games and in the Final Four,” he said.
With two games remaining in the qualifiers, NU has a chance to secure a two-beat advantage facing La Salle on Wednesday and Adamson on Saturday.
Clemente said to expect the Bulldogs to continue to prove themselves by letting their game do the talking.
“Sa gawa kami nagpapakita,” the NU captain said. “Hindi lang kami puro salita, sabi nga ni Coach Jeff. Ginagawa lang namin yung trabaho namin.”
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