Here we go! Round 2 will officially start in a battle between two defensive-minded teams.
Coming off respective losses against the league leaders FEU and UST, the NU Bulldogs and UE Red Warriors will once again square off in an exciting match to improve their current records entering the crucial stage. In the first round, the Red Warriors pulled of a stunning upset over the defending champions. It was a game of runs for both squads that set up a nerve-racking finish. The Warriors had to fend off the rabid comeback of the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter as the latter unleashed a 15-2 run to make it a close one until the end.
Keys to the Game
- For NU, slowing the tempo is the motto. We all know that UE loves to haste the game with their relentless energy in attacking the rim. The transition defense of the Bulldogs is vital to prevent the Red Warriors dictating the pace. The Recto-based squad’s pace of 88.5 possessions actually leads the entire field while NU who’s tempo directed into a phlegmatic style is dead last with 74.8.
- Limit the usage rate of Edison Batiller below 20%. The former Hope Christian Academy standout is sporting an Anthony Davis-like PER of 32.6. The focal point of UE’s offensive scheme, Batiller is riding high on a 29.6 % usage rate. Expect tough defenders like Pao Javelona and Rev Diputado to handle the task in trying to stop the hotshot guard.
- Of course, Alfred Aroga and Gelo Alolino will once again provide the steadiness and leadership for this NU team. Aroga, who lately has been putting tremendous numbers, will give headache to Pumaren’s coaching staff. Meanwhile, Alolino, who struggled in their last game, will come out with fire to avenge their nip-and tuck loss.
I don’t want to underestimate the capability of this UE team in scoring another upset against this Bulldogs. But like my prediction in the first round , NU’s vindication will prevail this time.
Featured Image Credit: GMANetwork.com