Wait, I’m not done celebrating.

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Yup! Okay, done.

Wasn’t that epic?

To me, really, the best part of the game was that almost everyone from the NU Bulldogs contributed to the sweet victory against hard-nut FEU Tamaraws.

It always felt like the past losses of NU to the Tamaraws are the ones that got away and it was a great feeling that finally, we sealed a win without controversy. We won fair and square. Plus the fact that we’re the first ones to hand them their first loss of the season—well, that’s the cherry on top of the icing.

Let’s compare the boys’ stats from their last game against FEU with their recent win against them.

statscompared

In numbers, the only thing that improved was their shooting. Aside from that, nothing else changed for the better although if you compare it to FEU’s you can see how it affected the turnout of the game. The Tamaraws attempted 72 shots all throughout the game and only 23 of it were converted which was kind of like how the Bulldogs played in their first round bout. Although rebound-wise they were more active than NU—getting 46 boards, 15 of them were offensive rebounds but the problem was their second chance points were not better than National-U’s so it didn’t translate into more points for them. Also, the FEU Tamaraws gave up a lot of fouls that sent NU players to the free throw line frequently. It was also the same spot where the Bulldogs killed the game for FEU.

Review of the Keys to the Game

Chill Out Romeo

Check. Check. Check. Oh wait, check.

“I think Porter did a great job on him, especially in the crucial possession that led to Ray’s steal. That was created by Porter,” NU head coach Eric Altamirano said in an interview (via abs-cbnnews.com). Let’s all take a moment of silence for William Porter’s stellar defense against Terrence Romeo. The main man from FEU only managed to score eight points all-game long—getting none of his shots from beyond the arc converted.

That was some freezing bucket of water.

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William Porter’s impressive defense on Terrence Romeo (Photo Credit: Mark Cristino, ABS-CBN News)

No offense, we need offense

Neither team were at their best in terms of shooting from the field but the fact still remains that NU’s offense was slightly better than FEU’s. When was the last time you’ve seen the Tamaraws struggle offensively in a single ball game? I think it was not only the offense of the Bulldogs that should be commended here. Their defense on the whole team was at an all-time high considering that no player other than RR Garcia has reached double digits in scoring. That’s a good sight to take in.

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Off-the-bench Tristan Perez scoring (Photo Credit: Josh Albelda, UAAP Sports TV)

As I mentioned at the start of this post-game article, I said that I loved seeing almost everyone contributed whether offensively or defensively. I feel like this is a new era for the team from Sampaloc – an era where we don’t have to rely heavily on Ray Parks’ performance to set the tone for the whole team. The back-to-back MVP only scored seven points, most of which came from the free-throw line. Including the two clutch charities he made the last few seconds of the game where he sealed the game for the Bulldogs, 59-58.

Another notable player who stepped up for the boys in Gold and Blue was Glenn Khonbuntin. He scored 10 points (62 FG%) and added five rebounds. That was a good decision by Coach E.

Channel Your ESP

Me: WRU Gelo?

Gelo: Here. G na!

Don’t you just love it when players answer to crucial games? I didn’t actually have a conversation with Gelo Alolino but it seemed like it. In my pre-game, I was desperately seeking for him to come out and step up to his rightful place as the team’s starting point guard. He along with Parks orchestrated plays for their teammates plus he was also the highest scorer on his team with 13 points and getting five boards along with two steals.

This was a very good second round start for the National University Bulldogs considering they are in solo second place (5-3) ahead of UST and UE. If they can keep this up until the end of the eliminations, they could actually be in a good place in the standings. Coach Altamirano said something similar saying, “Every game is important, so we have to come every game like that – with a sense of urgency.” If all the players chip in just like today, it will be a better season for the boys of National-U.