The 2014 UAAP champions left a strong impression on the Red Warriors, especially in the fourth quarter, with Alfred Aroga‘s dominant performance (10 of his 16 points came in that final frame) leading the way.
Aroga was “Mr. Everything” for the Sampaloc-based squad. The S78 Mythical Five selection was rebounding the ball, protecting the rim, and providing an emergency release against the patented UE pressure defense. Though he suffered an ankle injury after landing awkwardly following a made lay-up in the dying minutes of the game, the captain of the Bulldogs played through the pain, and will do so again if necessary in Sunday’s game against the Blue Eagles.
For the Bulldogs to secure their second victory, they must continue to apply pressure on the defensive end. While they were the latest team to join the full-court press bandwagon, their 1-on-1 D might be more important. National U must make it a priority to shackle Ateneo’s new 1-2 punch of Aaron Black (23 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists) and Thirdy Ravena (17 points, 11 rebounds), the duo that turned a lot of heads against the UST Growling Tigers.
We could also see NU apply a zone defense against Ateneo. ADMU shot a horrendous 6-of-31 from rainbow territory in their last game, including a 0-of-10 clip in the first half. The Bulldogs ought to put zone-busters Anton Asistio and Jolo Mendoza to the test early on, to see if the Blue Eagles struggle from outside anew.
Both teams won their opening day games, but NU is a slight favorite to win this one. In order to make that happen though, they must once again lean on their combo of “defense” + “Aroga,” and hope that the Black-Ravena pairing falls back to Earth.
|TV: LIVE ON ABS-CBN SPORTS AND ACTION|
|TIME: 2:00 PM|
|VENUE: SMART-ARANETA COLISEUM|