NATIONAL University may be ushering a new era with new coach Aris Dimaunahan but the mission remains in extending an established winning tradition highlighted by six straight championships and 96-0 record as the undisputed queen of UAAP basketball.
With Mr. Dimaunahan as the new captain of the ship in lieu of former mentor Pat Aquino, the Lady Bulldogs eye to stretch their reign as women’s basketball opens side-by-side with the men’s hoops for UAAP Season 85 on Oct. 1.
It will be the first women’s cagefest since 2019 when NU completed a six-peat and a feat of 96 straight wins as UAAP staged a compressed calendar in Season 84 last summer.
Mr. Dimaunahan, however, said the goal to protect NU’s throne will not be a walk in the park.
“We are slowly improving daily as we prepare for the upcoming season. Our approach is we try to improve on a daily basis and compete each day and let the results take care of itself,” Mr. Dimaunahan told The STAR ahead of his debut after taking over from long-time NU coach Mr. Aquino.
“We are staying and living in the present and not trying to look too far ahead of ourselves.”
Mr. Aquino decided to focus on overseeing the Gilas Pilipinas women’s program as director and head coach, leaving the keys to trusted assistant in Mr. Dimaunahan, who vowed to maintain NU’s winning ways amidst huge expectations.
“Pressure will always be there, at any level of basketball competition. But our main focus really is to prepare and get the ladies ready for battle,” Mr. Dimaunahan, the former PBA cager, added.
To achieve the tall order, Mr. Dimaunahan will have an intact core led by Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Camille Clarin and his daughter Christiana Dimaunahan.
NU begins its campaign on Oct. 2 against University of the East at the Mall of Asia Arena after the Oct. 1 opener featuring host Adamson against Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines against La Salle. — John Bryan Ulanday