Fancied Bullpups eye payback vs Blue Eaglets
LAGUNA, Philippines – The NU Bullpups will have a chance for redemption as they go against defending champions Ateneo Blue Eaglets in their UAAP juniors finals rematch at the FilOil Flying V Centre Monday.
After giving up the title to the Katipunan-based squad last season, NU star Terrence Fortea and the rest of the Bullpups are hungry as ever for that championship feeling.
"Gusto namin bumawi talaga," Fortea said after advancing to their eighth straight finals stint.
Since their last title in 2016, the Bullpups have come up short of UAAP glory, falling to the FEU Baby Tamaraws and the Blue Eaglets in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
"Kasi two straight losses [kami] sa finals [kaya] sobrang motivated talaga kami. Nagpeprepare lang kami lagi," Fortea said.
The Bullpups will be facing a very different Ateneo squad come game time, with only five Eaglets remaining from the championship team the year before.
"Masayang masaya kami to have the chance to defend our crown with this young group of new talent," Ateneo head coach Reggie Varilla said.
But Varilla and Eaglet veteran Kai Sotto know that facing top-seeded NU will be anything but easy.
"Kailangan namin paghandaan talaga ng mabuti kasi di sila magiging 13-1 ng tsamba-tsamba lang," Sotto said.
The Bullpups swept the Blue Eaglets in the elimination round, only falling to the Adamson Baby Falcons in an upset loss.
"When we face NU, we will need the whole team to be ready," Varilla said.
Tip-off is at 3 p.m.