NU boosts Final Four bid, boots out UP
National University is hoping to replicate its Cinderella run last year and the Bulldogs are on the right track.
NU boosted its Final Four bid following a 75-69 win over University of the Philippines Sunday in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Skipper Gelo Alolino produced a career-game with 26 points on top of 10 rebounds to keep the Bulldogs’ chances of entering the Final Four very much alive while also sending the Fighting Maroons out of semifinals contention with a 3-9 mark.
Making sure there would be no Fighting Maroon revolt, Alolino had his clutch game going with 12 points in the fourth quarter.
Bulldogs head coach Coach Eric Altamirano knows all too well it would be the basic formula of defense that would propel them to their final push for the semifinals.
“The key was our defense, UP tested us but we were able to assert ourselves especially in the fourth,” Altamirano said.
NU big man Alfred Aroga gave the Bulldogs a commanding 63-53 lead with 4:41 remaining in the fourth but Jett Manuel capped a 7-0 UP run as the Fighting Maroons cut it to 63-60 at the 2:41 mark.
Alolino, however, once again played hero for NU when he knocked down a three to put the Bulldogs ahead 66-60 at the 2:16 mark to quell any UP rally.
Aroga went for a big man’s double-double of 15 points, eight coming in the fourth period, and 17 boards.
Jett Manuel and Diego Dario led UP with 13 points, apiece.