UST Growling Tigers def. NU Bulldogs, 87-74
Soulemane Chabi Yo, UST (23 points, 20 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 8/12 FG, 7/9 FT)
In a match-up between two talented big men, it was Chabi Yo who emerged victorious against NU’s Issa Gaye. The latter only made his presence felt in the second half, but the former was consistent all throughout the match. He displayed a two-way performance as he was efficient on the offensive end and was a force defensively. Chabi Yo was also the reason this thrilling game went to overtime after calmly converting Mark Nonoy’s pass with 2.1 seconds left in regulation.
Rhenz Abando, UST (21 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 5/10 3-PT FG)
Minus the fourth canto and the overtime period, UST’s scintillating rookie was actually having a quiet game. Abando only had five points in the first half and it seemed like the added responsibility of guarding Dave Ildefonso took him out of his offensive groove… but when it started to look grim for UST, he came up big. * more of him later *
Mark Nonoy, UST (9 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 6/10 FT, +/- 12)
The other prized rookie of UST was dismal from the field as he only shot 7.69 percent from the field, but the 5’8 guard’s impact in this match was as crucial as Abando’s. Nonoy’s speed gave the Bulldogs several problems on both ends of the floor and it was his basketball smarts that sent the game to overtime. The former UST Tiger Cub broke down NU’s sleeping (or celebrating) defense and produced a critical assist to Chabi Yo.
Dave Ildefonso, NU (16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 5 turnovers, 7/20 FG)
If there was a one-on-one basketball tournament in the UAAP, expect Ildefonso to destroy (almost all of) his opponents with his offensive arsenal. The former Ateneo Blue Eaglet is an outstanding scorer, but sometimes, he tends to do things alone too much. With all the attention that the defense gives him, Ildefonso should look to involve his teammates more or at least choose a better shot selection. This was a mixed outing for the sophomore as he eventually fouled out in the extra frame. Don’t get me wrong though, he’s a wonderful player to watch!
- The game began at a frenetic pace as both NU and UST looked to run at every possible moment. The former quickly raced to a 6-1 lead three minutes into the first canto, but the latter stormed back to grab a five-point lead (21-16) at the end of the quarter. It continued till the end of the match with the Bulldogs and the Growling Tigers combining for 18 fastbreak points and 41 turnovers.
- It seemed like NU was going home with their first win of Season 82 as Shaun Ildefonso’s put-back with 52 seconds left in regulation gave the Bulldogs a 68-63 advantage over the Growling Tigers. Two crucial turnovers from Enzo Joson, a four-point outburst from Abando, and a free throw from Zach Huang kept UST alive. Joson then made up for his mistakes with a lay-up to push NU back on top, but Chabi Yo was able to sneak in a bucket on the other end of the court to tie things up after the Bulldogs celebrated Joson’s shot way too early.
- UST head coach Aldin Ayo’s decision to sub in Abando at the 1:51 mark of the fourth quarter for the fouled out Renzo Subido can now be considered as a masterstroke since the rookie gave the Tigers a lifeline late in regulation, then finished the game off with two gutsy threes in overtime.
- The defensive schemes of both teams were a bit similar as they pressured and trapped their opponents full-court. But the similarities stopped there as NU preferred to pound it near the basket (48 inside points), while UST looked to score outside (47 perimeter points).
- NU had a balanced distribution of points (38 starter points, 36 points points), but UST struggled to get anything from their reserves (18 bench points). Nonoy, Brent Paraiso (6), and CJ Cansino (3) were the only ones who scored off the bench.
- Side note: The Bulldogs will go down 0-3 in the current campaign, but it could’ve been 3-0 with all the close games that they lost. Expect them to bounce back strong in the coming games and at least fight for a Final Four slot.