Bulldogs arrest skid, halt Tigers streak

MANILA, Philippines -- Defending champion National University Bulldogs finally showed their bite and broke through with a hard-earned 55-54 victory over erstwhile unbeaten University of Santo Tomas Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tourney at the MOA Arena.

Coming out of a personal slump, Alfred Aroga muscled his way to 19 points spiked by the game-winning jumper with 14.7 seconds left as he helped the Bulldogs rally from seven points down in the last five minutes to book their first triumph after three successive losses.

"We're very thankful for our first win. We had to go through a lot in the first three games but the boys are very positive. Coming from the Ateneo loss (last Wednesday), they wanted to bounce back and it was evident today, they played with a lot of heart," said NU coach Eric Altamirano.

Aroga banged in eight markers in the payoff period, putting the exclamation to his dominant showing by hitting a long two that gave NU a 55-54 cushion.

"Alfred played a hell of a game, although I didn't like that last shot of his. We always tell him not to shoot those shots. But that type of shot is all-heart for Alfred, he wants to win," said Altamirano of his prized slotman.

"Very few know that Alfred went through a lot in our first three games, he was hospitalized, he lost a lot of weight bit he's trying to get back. I'm happy he was able to regain his strength for this game," he added.

Relief awash the NU bench after stopping an alarming 0-3 skid.

"Malaking bagay iyon kasi when you're down 0-4, the morale of the boys (are affected), you know these are still young men and ang confidence level ng mga bata madaling ma-shatter yan e, so we just have to remind them don't be defined by the losses, continue working hard and playing together. 
Kevin Ferrer (14) and Karim Abdul (11) led the way for UST as Ed Daquioag was held to nine points

The Tigers suffered their first loss in four starts and found themselves in the company of Ateneo, which beat University of the East, 77-72 to improve to 3-1, at No. 1.

NU seized a 41-33 lead going to the last 3:17 of the third before the Tigers countered with a 10-0 run capped by back-to-back treys from Ferrer to wrest a two-point margin.

The Thomasians made it a seven-point game with Kent scoring on a drive and Mario Bonleon firing a trey at the start of the fourth,  maintaining a 52-45 spread going to the last four minutes.

That wasn't the end for NU, though, as the Bulldogs came through with eight unanswered points culminating in an Aroga bucket inside to take control, 53-52, Daquioag force a shot but made up for it by coming up with a steal and a transition basket to restore the driver's seat for UST, 28.1 seconds left.

Then Aroga struck from the outside to swing it back to NU.

UST had a chance to retake the upperhand but Karim Abdul couldn't get a hand on the pass by Ferrer and Gelo Alolino secured possession.
Alolino managed only two markers but compensated with nine rebounds and nine assists.

The Scores:

NU 55 - Aroga 19, Alejandro 9, Abatayo 8, Diputado 7, Neypes 6, Alolino 2, Javelona 2, Salim 2, Celda 0, Javillonar 0, Lastimosa 0, Tansingco 0.

UST 54 - Ferrer 14, Abdul 11, Daquioag 9, Lao 8, Lee 6, Bonleon 3, Vigil 3, Faundo 0, Huang 0, Sheriff 0, Subido 0.

Quarterscores: 17-17, 33-26, 41-43, 55-54.

comments powered by Disqus