Blazing NU keeps UP winless

Levi Verora

CREATOR. Alolino had 7 assists for NU. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

MANILA, Philippines — National University waxed hot in the final quarter to finish a 74-60 drubbing of University of the Philippines in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, July 14, at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Big man Jean Mbe and point guard Gelo Alolino teamed up as the Bulldogs stormed past the Fighting Maroons in the 4th period as they turned a slim 6-point lead into an insurmountable 71-52 bubble.

“We did a good job on defense in the 4th,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “Somehow, our offense clicked and we were able to pull away.”

Ray Parks fired blanks from the field in the first two quarters, but made 10 free-throws as the Bulldogs built a 39-29 lead at the break.

But Sam Marata rose from a slumber as the Diliman crew kept fighting in the 3rd period, trimming the gap to 53-47 heading into the final period.

NU, however, streaked to a 10-1 run to open the last quarter and would not be denied in registering their 3rd win in 4 games.

Troy Rosario catalyzed the run before Mbe, Alolino and Parks capped the rally with baskets as the Bulldogs tied idle University of Santo Tomas in second place with a 3-1 record. 

ALL-AROUND. Parks had 19 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

Balanced attack

Four NU cagers topped double figures in scoring as Altamirano stressed teamwork and made sure they don’t rely on Parks too much.

The two-time MVP shot just two of 12 from the field, but had 14 free-throws to end up with 18 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists. 

Mbe once again dominated underneath, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds while Alolino added 12 points, 6 boards and 7 assists.

“He (Alolino) is vital to this team,” Altamirano said. “He may not be the #1 point guard right now. But he’s right there on top.”

Marata paced the Maroons, who slipped to 0-4, with 14 points even as Raul Soyud saw his 10 points and 20 rebounds go to waste. –

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