NU needs sense of urgency, says Parks
MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) Bulldogs need to have a sense of urgency when they take on the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in their winner-take-all game this Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena, says star forward Ray Parks.
The Bulldogs are the top-seeded team in the Final Four and have a twice-to-beat advantage, but the Tigers stunned them, 71-62, in their first semi-final game last week.
After the loss, Parks said the Bulldogs came out “passive,” possibly due to the long lay-off they had prior to the start of the Final Four.
“We came out passive more than anything. I guess the team came out too relaxed,” he said. “Coming from that long break, our heads weren’t in the game.”
“It just came back in the second half. If we can start like that in the next game, it will be a better game for us. This was like a massacre,” he added.
Thanks to their twice-to-beat edge, Parks and the Bulldogs will still get another chance to earn their first Finals berth since 1970 on Saturday. But it figures to be another tough game against a UST squad that is now full of confidence after beating the top-seeded team.
For Parks, the key is to come out with a sense of urgency and have the right mentality.
“We have to work on ourselves, first of all,” Parks said. “We have to do the little things, like boxing out, making free throws, and just trying to play our style of basketball. We need to defend and be the aggressors coming into the game, and come out with a sense of urgency.”
NU head coach Eric Altamirano added that they will have to deal with UST’s “intimidation” and physicality in their winner-take-all.
“’Yung mindset namin, we have to be prepared to handle that kind of intimidation, that kind of physicality,” he said. “We want to stay positive. Hopefully, we can make full use of the twice-to-beat advantage.”