Blog Posts by Jessica Constantino

  • The NU Cheer Squadron: the unsung (and unseen) heroes

    The NU Cheer Squadron practicing their routine. (Screen grab from video taken by Jessica Constantino)

    Almost every day, when the clock reaches 4:00pm, there is always a noise at the NU Activity Area.

    Chants of "B-U-L-L-D-O-G!" can be heard from a group of NU students. These are not just ordinary students who want to have fun and recite the National U moniker. They are the National University Cheer Squadron, practicing their yells day after day.

    Also known as The Boosters, they are not as visible as the NU Pep Squad, but they are a source of NU school spirit just the same. They don't perform on center court at halftime, but if you look up into the bleachers, you can see them standing (and even jumping) in the Upper A level of the MOA Arena or at the Upper B of the Big Dome. Wearing their white long sleeves sweater-like uniform with gold and blue design, regardless of the temperature in the venue, the Cheer Squadron all scream their hearts out when Bobby Ray Parks or Emmanuel Mbe makes a slam, or when Mark de Guzman steals the leather from the opponent.

    They rejoice when the Bulldogs

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  • Coach “E” is more than a coach

    Coach Eric Altamirano is like a father to his players. (NPPA Images)

    It was a tough loss. The Bulldogs were a point away from defeating the UST Growling Tigers. The final score was 57-58, with NU losing in overtime. As the team headed for the locker room, I saw pain etched on their faces. But coach Eric Altamirano was quick to lift their spirits.

    The NU coach was quiet. But his eyes were always surveying and studying the environment. He exuded calmness and remained unperturbed.

    Altamirano admitted that the last game was a heartbreaking loss. Yet, he remained optimistic and acknowledged that everything happened for a reason.

    Just as a father would ask his children, the NU coach asked the team, "Did you give your best?" He said this several times, with each getting louder. They team chorused back, "Yes!"

    Satisfied with his squad's answer, he invited everyone to huddle. Everyone knelt and he led them in a brief and heartfelt prayer. Then everyone stood up smiling. They all then shouted: "Together!"

    Later at dinner, Altamirano who is fondly known as "Coach

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  • Humble pie is served

    The Bulldogs were caught flat-footed against the Blue Eagles last Sunday. (NPPA Images)

    Silence. That is the mood inside the bus of the National University Bulldogs as they headed to the Mall of Asia Arena for Sunday's main game of the UAAP Season 75 against the Ateneo Blue Eagles. And this is unusual, I could tell, being part of this team for half a year now. They used to play around, tease each other out and have their own concert inside the bus. They laugh, smile and sing.

    When the boys reach their new dug-out, the awkward silence is still there. Again, this is unusual, because they all have a sense of humor and like to joke around. This silence means something.

    Focus? Yes, I think, maybe, maybe not. Nobody can tell what's on their minds. It's hard to guess.

    It's not the Bulldogs!

    That is the first thought that comes to mind at the onset of the game. I don't know what's in the minds of the boys while entering the game, all I know it's not the Bulldogs! An 8-0 run by the Eagles. Are the old Bulldogs back? This is not the same Bulldogs team that went 11-0 in the

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  • Altamirano expects a tough game on Sunday

    The Bulldogs of Coach E will rely on their defense against Ateneo. (NPPA Images)

    It took a lot of courage (even though I am part of his coaching staff, it's really unusual for us to have a conversation like this) for me to ask for a  quick one-on-one with National University Bulldogs' head coach, Eric Altamirano. He is one of the coaches that I should say is calm and under control in spite of what's happening on the court.

    Frederick "Eric" Altamirano or Coach E to his players and colleagues is one of the favorite names to talk about when it comes to the world of coaching collegiate basketball. He is now on his second year of duty as the chief tactician of the new formed National-U Bulldogs. His track record and reputation as a coach is not new to basketball fans and there is reason for the NU faithful to expect that he can lead his team into what could be a breakout season.

    And now going on their second game in the young tournament of UAAP Season 75, his squad will face a dangerous team in the form of the four-time UAAP Champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue

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