View from the Enemy: NU Bulldogs

Round two face off of the UST Growling Tigers and the NU Bulldogs will either extend the two game winning streak of the striking Bulldogs or will bring new hope for the struggling Tigers. The Bulldogs are coming off a blowout win over the Soaring Falcons. With this in mind, it is expected that they’ll be riding their momentum to cruise over the injury prone Tigers.

Return of Tiger’s captain, Jeric Teng, is still in question (Update: will now play vs. NU), add to that, Aljon Mariano is coming off a sprained ankle that has bothered him for the most part of round 1. With these health issues from their main guys, the Tigers will once again play the role of the underdogs. How will they rise up to the challenge? It will be interesting to find out. This game just might be a turning point to their campaign for this season.

Keys of the Game

Magic 70

This game will definitely be a defensive game. NU and UST have both been very good in limiting their opponents to sub-70 point production. Interestingly, NU has won six of their seven games when they limit their opponents to less than 70 points. In their round 1 match, the Tigers were limited to 67 points while the Bulldogs were able to break the magic 70 number to seal off that game.

Swarming Defense of the Bulldogs (Photo Credit: Inboundpass )

Swarming Defense of the Bulldogs (Photo Credit: Inboundpass )

Shoot that Ball

The Tigers have been missing Teng’s shooting prowess. As a result, UST is dead last in eFG ranking with 37.7% while NU has been enjoying the penthouse view by topping this department with 44.1%. Outside shooting will be a critical factor for the Tigers as this will dictate how tight the defense of the Bulldogs would be. Hot shooting from beyond the arc by Clark Bautista and Kevin Ferrer would definitely ease off pressure on Karim Abdul working in the paint.

Shooting_RichardEsguerra

Clark Bautista shooting a three. (Photo Credit: Richard Esguerra, UAAP Sports TV)

Convert those TOs to Pts

UST has been forcing a lot of turnovers from their opponents but they’ve been messing up their chances. In fact, the Tigers averaged the most number of opponent’s TO yet they are second to the last in the turnover points race. It is important for the Tigers to capitalize on these TOs as these are the instances when the Bulldogs’ defense are more likely not yet set up.

Prediction

As I’ve said, this game just might be the turning point of the Tigers’ campaign. With their backs against the wall and playing against Joeffrey Javillonar, I am expecting an inspired basketball showing from the Tigers. UST will dig deep and break their losing streak.