If winning the coveted championship is the mountaintop, defending it must be the Mount Everest’s summit. For the reigning champs National University Bulldogs, their quest to go atop again continue on Saturday as they will face the very dangerous University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.
In the first round matchup, the Bulldogs escaped with a 55-54 triumph, thanks to Alfred Aroga‘s game-winning jumper which was not the exact play Coach Eric Altamirano drew. After the game, Coach E insisted that he was not happy with the shot, but it was just all PUSO on Aroga’s part. It was the first win for NU in Season 78, who dealt the Tigers their first loss of the season. Reversal.
- Stop Ed Daquiaog and Kevin Ferrer. When you have two MVP-caliber ballers on your side, there seems no reason at all to be scared. Daquiaog and Ferrer are pretty spectacular on offense currently, sporting true shooting percentages of 52.7 and 52.8 respectively. Clearly, these two are the heart and soul of the Tigers’ surprising Season 78 campaign. NU must make their lives hard so they can limit their impact and force them to take bad shots and make bad decisions. Expect tough covers from Pao Javelona and Robert Salim in trying to contain the potent duo of Growling Tigers.
- Involve everybody on offense. How can you win games if you’re not playing O? For NU, the offensive skirmish is obvious as they heavily rely on the playmaking brilliance of Gelo Alolino and inside dominance of Aroga. Opponents have put premium defense against these two. It goes to the supporting casts to help (not just on defense) and contribute offensively in order for the Bulldogs to pump some blood into their almost dying campaign.
As the Bulldogs are exhibiting lately, championship fatigue must be real. It is taking its toll on they as they try to hang on for the hotly contested Final Four ticket. They need to overcome that as soon as possible as other teams badly want to join the postseason festivities as well.
|TV: LIVE ON ABS-CBN SPORTS AND ACTION|
|TIME: 4:00 PM|
|VENUE: MALL OF ASIA ARENA|