DEBUTING coach Eric Gonzales knows very well that his Bulldogs are built for the kill in the ongoing eliminations of the 73rd University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.

But this attitude remains to be seen as Gonzales himself found his wards wanting after having troubles in keeping the composure intact in the dying seconds of the game.

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“We always have a problem of sustaining the drills in the end game. To be honest, I’m still not that happy,” he said.

National University (NU) is coming from a seven-point win, 70-63, against former tormentor University of the East (UE) last week which saw UE nearly stealing the thunder from the Bulldogs.

With the win, NU effectively dismantled the 14-game winning streak of UE, which started to clobber the Bulldogs via a 69-68 squeaker last September 7, 2002.

Rookie Glenn Khobuntin, a former Letran standout, paced the Bulldogs with 13 points and five rebounds while veteran forward Melvin Baloran added 11 points to power the Sampaloc-based squad.

But after holding a similar 2-2 card with defending champion Ateneo de Manila and University of Santo Tomas, the upset-conscious Gonzales said NU has a lot of work ahead before reaching the elusive Final Four.

To start off, NU will be facing a wounded UST quintet today (Thursday) at 4 p.m. under a never-say-die coach Pido Jarencio, who recently absorbed a bitter loss to Adamson, 75-71, last Sunday.

“UST is a Final Four team. Hindi namin sila pwede biruin. Coach Pido is a good coach dahil nalalagay niya ang players niya on the right posts. Coming from that school as well, I know that from the start until finish, hindi talaga magpapatalo agad yan. UST is a dark horse in the Final Four,” said Gonzales.

The Growling Tigers, despite of stellar performances from sharp shooter Jeric Fortuna and career-high output of sophomore Jeric Teng, failed to list its third win after it committed two crucial turnovers in the last minute.

Meantime, Far Eastern University (FEU) will make sure that it will maintain an immaculate card (4-0) on Thursday as it tangles with a rejuvenated La Salle in the 2 p.m. contest.

Coach Glenn Capacio said he is aware that La Salle wanted to sustain a winning rally after hacking out a come-from-behind victory over arch-nemesis Ateneo last Saturday.

“We know that they are beaming with confidence due to their win against Ateneo but for sure, we will try our best to get win no. 5,” he said.

Terrence Romeo, the former Baby Tamaraws who listed record 83 points in a single junior’s game in 2009, made his presence felt in Sunday’s blowout victory against hapless University of the Philippines (UP) by knocking in 18 markers, four assists and two steals. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)