Gritty NU hands FEU 1st loss

Myke Miravite
NU becomes the first team to defeat FEU in UAAP Season 76.

MANILA, Philippines — National University dealt Far Eastern University its first loss this season as they eked out a 59-58 win in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament Wednesday night, August 14 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Tamaraws looked poised to steal the game from the Bulldogs in the final quarter but flubbed their chance to stay unbeaten as they wilted down the stretch with Terence Romeo committing crucial errors that cost them the game.

Despite playing limited minutes in the first half due to foul trouble, Ray Parks still came out as hero for the Bulldogs after sinking 3 free throws in the final minutes that proved to be the assurance baskets for the Sampaloc-based side.

Down the wire 

“I was thinking I must bail out my teammates from this one. I messed up in the first half, in the second half, I really had to settle down,” Parks said of what he was thinking while shooting those freethrows.

After starting the final canto with a sizzling 15-4 run, FEU had the chance to win it all as RR Garcia poured in 10 of his 20 points in that stretch but Romeo – who was playing stellar prior to this game – first lost the ball to Maurice Porter and missed shot after shot for the Tams.

“I told the team before the game that for us to beat FEU, we really had to assert ourselves especially on defense,” NU coach Eric Altamirano said after the game. “Nahirapan kami, we struggled on offense. But I liked what happened in the end, we were down by 4 but the boys did not lose heart. We regrouped at that crucial part of the game and true enough, we were able to come back because of our defense.”

RISING UP. Alolino stepped up as Mbe and Parks struggled. Photo by Rappler/Josh Albelda.

Romeo-stopper

Porter put up a stingy defense against Romeo in this game as he limited the MVP contender to a woeful 8 points on a 3 of 16 shooting night.

It was just as unspectacular, however, on the other side as Parks missed all of his tries from beyond-the-arc and ended up with a season-low 7 markers.

Gelo Alolino topscored for the Bulldogs with 13 points as Jean Mbe and Glenn Khobuntin added 10 markers apiece.

FEU, meanwhile, could not find the bottom of the net with only Garcia breaking double digits in scoring.

The Tamaraws have the chance to bounce back in their next outing against La Salle on Sunday, August 14 while NU will look to inch closer to the top of table against Adamson, also on Sunday.

“We need all the wins we could get in the second round. Every game is important,” said Altamirano.

NU now has 5 wins and 3 losses while FEU still stays on top with a 7-1 record. – Rappler.com