Lacking key players due to injury, National University head coach Eric Altamirano is impressed on how the Bulldogs rookies showed their bite at crunchtime to stave off a pesky San Sebastian side.
Altamirano praised his new recruits, comprised of Matthew Aquino, JV Gallego, and Chino Mosqueda, who all played like veterans in the dying minutes to seal their second win over the Golden Stags, 70-65, in the FilOil Flying V Premier Preseason Cup on Wednesday.
“They showed a lot of character especially mga bago sila, I think this is the time to evaluate them and to assess them on how they respond on this type of adversity,” said Altamirano on his rookies.
The 6-foot-7 Aquino, son of former PBA star Marlou Aquino, drilled a clutch three-point basket to take back the lead while former Chiang Kai Shek standout Gallego sank 3 pressure-packed freebies late in the game to save the day for the Bulldogs and deny the comeback bid of the Stags.
Mosqueda, an ex-Batang Gilas, also delivered in their 3rd game in the preseason tourney, collecting 10 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting. Aquino followed with 9 while Gallego had 6.
“We lost our bearing but what I like about the team is ‘yung composure nila especially in the end,” Altamirano added.
The Sampaloc-based dribblers was comfortably leading by 15 at the half, before the Stags got their rhythm in their full court press defense that paved the way for them to trim down the deficit.
“I’m happy that they responded very well,” added the mentor.
Altamirano, though, admitted that they are sorely missing the services of big man Alfred Aroga, Kris Go and JJ Alejandro, all who are nursing various injuries. – By Jason Mercene
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