Roño waxes hot as NU extends streak with win over USTBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Robin Roño waxed hot and so did National University as they drubbed University of Santo Tomas, 75-61, Saturday in the UAAP season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Roño uncorked five of the Bulldogs’ nine triples for a game-best 19 points — but that was just part of their multipronged attack which helped them nail their fourth straight victory.
NU, looking lethal as ever, also dictated the tempo of the game to score 25 points off the fastbreak, then rotated the ball remarkably well for 20 assists.
The Bulldogs (7-3), who are just a game behind league-leader FEU (7-2), didn’t rely heavily on its starters as Glen Khobuntin also stepped up with nine markers to give the team a lift off-the-bench along with Roño.
Ray Parks only had 10 and none in the fourth period, but it hardly mattered as the Bulldogs’ halted every fight back of the Tigers with Roño and Khobuntin leading the charge.
“It was a collective effort. Our bench stepped up today,” said head coach Eric Altamirano.
When the Tigers’ pulled to within three, 57-60, Roño came to the Tigers’ rescue with a wide-open triple with 4:50 to play and then replicated it three minutes after to push the lead to 11.
“Roño’s usually our stopper but for his game, he provided us with his triples,” Altamirano said of his guard, who also had two steals.
It was Dennice Villamor, meanwhile, who spearheaded the Bulldogs’ steady start as he scattered 18 points along with nine rebounds and four assists.
The Tigers’ meanwhile, reeled from the loss of Jeric Teng, who after missing four games sat out the entire second half due to cramping hamstring.
Center Karim Abdul conjured 18 markers for the sputtering UST, which dropped to 4-5, after being at second place early in the season. Kevin Ferrer added 11 points.
NU 75 — Roño 19, Villamor 18, Parks 10, Alolino 10, Khobuntin 9, Mbe 4, Javillonar 3, Perez 2, Rosario 0, Porter 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0, Javelona 0, Alejandro 0.
UST 61 — Abdul 18, Ferrer 11, Mariano 9, Daquioag 9, Lo 5, Bautista 5, Teng 2, Sheriff 2, Tan 0, Pe 0, Lao 0.
Quarters: 17-14, 36-33, 56-44, 75-61.