UAAP: National U avenges loss, dismantles University of the East
MANILA, Philippines – National University refused to pull punches as it dismantled University of the East, 91-51, Saturday in the curtain raiser of the 74th UAAP men’s basketball at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The Bulldogs avenged their heartbreaking first round 72-71 setback to the Warriors by firing on all cylinders, leading by a whopping 44 points before settling for the biggest winning margin since 2003.
And for NU head coach Eric Altamirano, there was no better way to bounce back than right at the start of the second round of eliminations.
“It was redemption for us. We were very relentless today and we never let up,” Altamirano said. “We couldn’t wait to play them again because the pain of losing [to them] was still there.”
The Bulldogs improved to 3-5, but are not yet setting their sights on reaching the final four.
“We just want to play one game at a time. Thinking about the final four [at the start of the season] gave the boys a lot of pressure,” said Altamirano.
Cameroonian reinforcement Emmanuel Mbe was indestructible in the paint, banging in his season-best 21 points and plucking 16 rebounds – eight from the offensive.
Four other NU Bulldogs scored in double figures – paced by prized rookie Bobby Ray Parks, who is running third in the season MVP race, with 18 points and eight boards and seven dimes.
Parks and Mbe nailed back-to-back baskets, followed by the first two points of second stringer Robby Celis as NU held an 88-44 cushion with 2:38 to play.
The Bulldogs’ 40-point victory tied the biggest since UE, ironically, demolished University of the Philippines, 99-59, in 2007.
NU dominated on all departments – doubling UE’s assists and hauling down 20 more rebounds even as it turned over the ball 23 times compared to 11.
Senior guard Paul Zamar, who exploded for 20 in UE’s first win, last August 6, meanwhile, was held to just four points while no one from the Warriors side scored more than eight points.
The Warriors, who reeled to their seventh loss, could not get anything going from the field – nailing just two of their 23 attempts from beyond the arc and missing at least 30 shots from the two-point area.