MANILA, Philippines – It’s all about pride now as cellar-dwellers National University and University of the East battle it out in the hopes of ending their lackluster season on a high note.
The NU Bulldogs (3-10) had hoped to climb up the ranks but wound up securing only one win in the second round against University of Santo Tomas.
Also struggling all season, the UE Red Warriors (1-12) only have one win to show – a huge upset of Far Eastern University in the first round.
The dogfight for a positive finish gets going at 2 pm on Sunday, November 18, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Despite their rough run, both the Bulldogsand the Warriors have their own hotshots who have earned the reputation to cook up monstrous – and historic – numbers.
UE has its go-to scorer all season in Alvin Pasaol, who has the capacity to bulldoze through the defensive systems of each team to put up double-digit numbers. His season-low this year was 14 points.
In the previous game against Adamson, the explosive forward surpassed the record of one of the league’s all-time best scorers, Terrence Romeo, as he posted the UAAP’s highest scoring average of 24.7 points for a local player.
Pasaol also norms 10.8 rebounds per contest for a double-double average.
On the Bulldogs side, John Lloyd Clemente got his groove in the collegiate competition as he blasted a season-high of 38 points against Far Eastern University to eclipse the 36-point mark set by Pasaol for the most number of points scored in a single game.
The feat of the Bulldogs’ homegrown rookie also wound up as the highest score tallied by an NU player since Ray Parks’ 35 points in 2012.
Even if he has 4 years left to play in the league, Clemente is definitely not contented with his output as he aims to surpass former NU standout and team consultant Jeff Napa’s 43-point outburst in 2002. (READ: After career game, John Lloyd Clemente targets Jeff Napa’s record)
But since the sweet-shooting guard picked up his hot hand later in the season, he only averages 13.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists.
In the first round, Clemente also set a previous career-best of 21 points to lead the Bulldogs past UE, 88-61.
As the hosts, the Bulldogs would want to repeat the rout of UE in front of their fans before they bid farewell to the season.
NU can be applauded for its league-low of 14.4 turnovers per game tied with Ateneo, but the Sampaloc-based squad has to watch out for the Red Warriors’ efforts to convert on the fastbreak which tallies up to 11.5 points per game.
Outside the stat sheet, it would also be nice to see the whole UE team stepping up to aid its topscorer in order to pocket another win before the season ends. – Rappler.com