NU beats UP in lopsided victory
MANILA, Philippines — Making mincemeat of their opponents, the National University Bulldogs mauled the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 66-51, during their second-round matchup of the UAAP Seniors Basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Sunday afternoon.
NU took the lead in the first quarter, after the Fighting Maroons took an early 3-0 lead, and the dog pack ran rampant on the whistle.
Running on fumes, the Bulldogs built a 25-point lead early in the fourth, 60-35, courtesy of a 12-3 dash that started late in the third with big man Alfred Aroga imposing his will scoring six points during the run.
“As I told the team, we have to assert our identity today and it all starts on our defense,” said Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano. “Everything else revolves and followed from our defense.”
With the win, the Bulldogs are tied with defending champions De La Salle University Green Archers for the third spot with an 9-3 record.
UP, which fell to a 1-12 record and the 7th place in the standings, was not the only casualty of the Bulldog win as last year’s runner-up University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers was officially out of the Final Four contention.
“We just have to play it one game at a time, we have two more remaining games,” Altamirano said. “Our goal is to win these games and enter the Final Four.”
After UP took its first and only lead of the game, the Bulldogs then went on a blistering 15-2 run in the first to go up 15-5 with JJ Alejandro capping the run with a reverse layup on the break.
Playing through back spasms, Aroga capped an 11-1 run in the third with a thundering slam in the break off a Reden Celda assist to put NU up 43-25.
Aroga led the pack with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds with Troy Rosario missing out on a double-double of his own with nine points and 10 boards to go along with five assists.
Glenn Khobuntin and Gelo Alolino had nine points apiece to contribute for the Bulldogs.
UP guard Mikee Reyes led the Maroons with 13 points and three assists with Henry Asilum adding 11.
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