“Do you ever feel like a plastic bag? Drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?”

Coming to the game, I was ready to bring out my clouds made of cotton candy and belt this out ala Katy Perry.  I admit, I was already thinking that if they lose this game, it’s going to be difficult to bounce back. Thankfully, they proved me wrong.

The National University Bulldogs have not lost sight of their goal.

There were a lot of things I loved seeing in their game against the DLSU Green Archers—there was a contributing Kyle Neypes, for starters. I haven’t been vocal about this but I heard from one of the basketball coaches from the school that this 6’4” guy who graduated from UST high school was actually a good player but was never utilized in NU, I instantly became a fan. So… Woot! Go Kyle!

We're getting it back. (Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports PH)

We’re getting it back. (Photo Credit: Yahoo Sports PH)

The Story

Basically, the game started with a foul by Bobby Ray Parks Jr. Almond Vosotros missed an attempt to the basket that turned into a couple of points for NU. This was from a basket by Emmanuel Mbe but DLSU’s Jeron Teng quickly got it back. A couple of consecutive fouls were given up by the Gold and Blue that La Salle quickly took advantage of and gave them a chance to tie at 4-all. Thomas Torres tried for a three—the first in the entire game—but failed to convert it. Jason Perkins landed a basket after Mbe contributed another bucket for NU. La Salle couldn’t control the ball towards the end of the first quarter, turning the ball over five times in four minutes. This gave National-U an 8-0 run. LA Revilla finally sinks an attempt that moves his team forward but it was the last point they made before the buzzer. The quarter ends with De La Salle scoring single digits, 20-9.

The Green Archers shoot fairly well in the second quarter considering they outscored NU, 16-13. Although, they did start with a missed three from LA Revilla. NU committed two consecutive fouls after Vosotros tried for another outside shot. The second foul was by Tristan Perez which earned him his third personal foul so early in the game. Arnold van Opstal made both his charities. On their side of the court, Parks commits an offensive foul. At this point, he already has two personal fouls. It was awfully quiet for NU when they could not score a basket and was stuck at 20 since the start of the second quarter. Troy Rosario finally stopped the drought by converting a basket from a Gelo Alolino pass after Perkins’ turnover. Teng scores a basket which was quickly countered by Parks on his side of the court. On defense, Jeoff Javillonar committed a foul that gave Matthew Salem a chance to make two free throws. Parks tried thrice to make a basket—he converts one of the three—after Teng turned the ball over. Salem gets a trey that inches La Salle closer. The last attempt before the half was from Dennice Villamor who swishes a three. NU lead the game, 33-25.

Coming off the halftime, Neypes scores a basket after Mbe misses an attempt. Vosotros slices in a three from an assist by big man Perkins. Parks gets a steal from Perkins who couldn’t secure his rebound. Vosotros swishes in another trey after a foul by Rosario. La Salle inches closer, 31-36. Rosario and Mbe get baskets separately both from an assist by Parks who already has five assists by now. Perkins makes a bucket after Vosotros converts a three followed by a miss by Parks. Teng scores a basket towards the end of the quarter. La Salle is now a point away from tying the game.

Parks started the scoring in the last quarter with back-to-back three points converted which gave National-U some breathing space. Then Alolino scores after Revilla misses an attempt from the outside. Another couple of missed shots were given up by La Salle that resulted to Parks scoring a couple of points, giving NU an 11-point lead. Teng finally scores a basket for DLSU but Neypes quickly got it back with his own. Torres swishes in a three-point attempt after a turnover by Villamor at the 17 second-mark of the game. This places La Salle in a one-possession ball game. Alolino was sent to the free throw line after Torres gave up his fourth personal foul—the NU guard makes both his charities, 61-56. La Salle makes one final attempt but then Mbe closes the game with an easy layup, 63-56.

Review of the Keys to the Game

Finding Offense

In my pre-game article, I noted that in the last three outings of the NU Bulldogs, they have been shooting below 40% from the field. In this game, they were definitely better. They were 26 out of 66—that’s 39.4 FG%! Compared to when they battled FEU, this was definitely better. They also shot better from the outside. They converted four three-pointers out of 12 attempts. And don’t you just love it that out of 12 players, more than half of them contributed at least one basket. Unfortunately though, we didn’t see much of Jeoff Javillonar or Robin Roño.

During the first quarter, NU had a good time on the court. They were 50% in field goal shooting compared to DLSU’s 25 FG% (3 out of 12) which explains why the NU lead was 20-9. The team in Gold and Blue shot better because Mbe was overpowering Norbert Torres in the paint. Then La Salle checked in Van Opstal late in the first quarter and stayed with him until the next. It became harder for the boys in Sampaloc. The Bulldogs couldn’t get their shots in shooting only 26.3 FG% because of the tight defense by the Green Archers’ center.

What I love about their overall offense though is seeing Dennice Villamor converting his three-point attempts. When was the last time we’ve seen him scoring consistently? He had 10 points, 6 of them coming from beyond the arc. Parks had 20 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and three steals.

Stop the AVO-lution 

Arnold Van Opstal was the highest scorer from the DLSU Green Archers. He had 14 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. I can say that NU did good defense on Van Opstal comparing the totals to his usual averages and that he scored most of his points in the second and fourth quarters but was not visible much in the two others.

Shake it off

Just like Troy Bolton shaking his head and getting back to his game, the NU Bulldogs left all their baggage (personal or what-not) behind and started fresh in this game. I love how everyone contributed in this win, whether through points, assists or steals. It’s the thing that has been missing in their last few games. If they carry on with this kind of attitude and get on the same page, it’s not going to be difficult to say that the National University Bulldogs will be a very dangerous team…

…and we’re going to bite harder. See ya in the second round!