By the Numbers: What is wrong with NU?
ABS-CBN Sports on Sep 17, 2015 04:47 PM
The Bulldogs are learning that staying on top is way harder than the climb up.
Given that they already faced two Final Four teams from last year, to say that the defending UAAP champions NU Bulldogs are having a hard time starting their title defense in Season 78 is a major understatement.
Three games in and the Bulldogs are 0-3. Losing againstÂÂ the DeÂÂ La Salle Green Archers in their opener, suffering an upset at the hands of a young UE Red Warriors and dropping a double-overtime thriller against the Ateneo Blue Eagles, the team they completely stifled all of last season.
What is wrong with NU? We try to find an answer here.
To be fairÂÂ to NU, most of its numbers are nearly identical from last season, however, one glaring difference is that the Bulldogs' mighty league-leading defense in Season 77 is pedestrian at best three games into Season 78.
The Bulldogs harassed opponents last year and only allowed 58.6 points, so far this year though, it has jumped to 72.3 points.
Also, the departures of Troy Rosario and Glenn Khobuntin are major factors to consider in trying to solve NU's early struggles.
Rosario (11 points per game) and Khobuntin (9.4 points) were the third and fourth leading scorers for NU last season. Those numbers may look pale in comparison to others say like Kiefer Ravena, but they were essential to the Bulldogs considering their top two scorers, Gelo Alolino and Alfred Aroga, both averaged less than 12.5 points in Season 77.
Balanced scoring and tenacious defense were the Bulldogs' bread and butter on their way to winning their first championship in six decades a year ago and now, all of that is pretty much gone so far.
Aroga's 10.3 points and 11 rebounds in Season 78 are mostly in parallel to his previous numbers while Alolino is shouldering much heavier workload at 19.3 points per game.
No Bulldog is averaging more than 8.3 points per game aside from those two.
Although NU will have plenty of time to regroup, the Bulldogs, with lesser manpower and a defense that looked like it took a step back, two clear effects from the departures of Rosario and Khobuntin, are learning a painful lesson that staying on top of the mountain is way harder than the climb up.