For every defeat, it is always a must to bounce back. For every mistake, adjustments must be made. The National University Bulldogs will try to look for its first win of the season against a rebuilding University of the East Red Warriors. After losing their respective season debuts, expect both teams to put up gutsy effort to avoid a 0-2 record.
Dissecting the first game, Coach Altamirano will surely once again rely on his veterans led by Gelo Alolino, who led the team with 16 points and shot 6/18 from the field, JJay Alejandro and reinforcement Alfred Aroga. The Cameroonian didn’t have a rousing debut against the Green Archers in which he committed two early fouls in the first quarter and eventually fouled out. The comebacking Alejandro promised to be in tip-top shape after he suffered an injury a season ago. He poured 15 points and even had more trips to the line (5/6 FT, 83%) courtesy of his aggressive attacks to the basket.
On the other hand, the Red Warriors will have to use their patented pressure defense and fast pace offense to raise their tempo and score their first victory for the season. Last season, they averaged 83.8 possessions per game, the highest pace by any UAAP team since Season 74. Expect Coach Derrick Pumaren to employ more pressure D and force more turnovers to disrupt the Bulldogs offense.
Players to watch
Alfred Aroga (NU)
I’m pretty sure that Aroga will have a revenge game against the thin frontline of UE. Last time out, he finished with 9 points and 10 rebounds – still a solid mark but low for someone who’s expected to register MVP-type numbers. Banging bodies will be around as the Red Warriors will try to stop the sophomore in dominating inside the paint. Good luck, Chris Javier.
Edison Batiller (UE)
Is he the second coming of Roi Sumang? If last game was any indication, the answer is a little bit of yes. This guy showed twirl headed spin move and unbelievable athleticism against the Fighting Maroons. Battiler registered 17 points to show the way for UE and gave plenty of reasons to watch out for this guy.
Last season, these two teams battled for the fourth ticket to the Final Four. The Bulldogs nearly escaped a 51-49 victory in the knockout game and eventually became champions.
But this season, losing eight players is a major blow for UE and for sure, NU will take advantage and will destroy the Red Warriors in a lopsided victory.
Featured Image credit: Edward Solo, Pinoy Exchange