NU finds life late, strikes one on win column

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 19, 2015 07:27 PM
NU finds life late, strikes one on win column
BIG SHOT. Alfred Aroga delivered the big blows that gave NU their first win of the season.

The National University faithful were chanting his name in unison on Saturday at the MOA Arena, but they might as well have been chanting “Michael Jordan.”

Alfred Aroga, all six-foot eight-inches of him, posted up in the decisive possession and hit a perfect fadeaway over the outstretched arms of Karim Abdul that proved to be all the winning margin the Bulldogs needed to put away the University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers, 55-54.

The Cameroonian also sealed the defending champions’ first win in the UAAP 78 Men’s Basketball Tournament by playing great defense on Kevin Ferrer’s attempt at a response. Aroga finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds – easily his best game thus far in  the season.

The Bulldogs took control with a 41-33 lead in the third before Ferrer sparked a 15-0 run that pushed UST ahead, 48-41, early in the fourth. NU was actually scoreless for the first five minutes of the final frame until Aroga’s inside basket fronted a 12-4 burst that retook the advantage for them, 53-52, with 60 ticks on the clock.

A steal to score play by Ed Daquioag again sent the Tigers in front, 54-53, before Aroga’s go-ahead basket and heads-up defense. Gelo Alolino muffed two free throws to leave a window for UST, but time ran out before they could put up any attempt.

NU actually shot worse from the field with only 33 percent compared to the 38 percent of their opponents, but they limited league top scorer Daquioag to only nine points. A relieved coach Eric Altamirano said, “We’re very thankful for this win. The boys came in and played with a lot of heart.”

With Daquioag’s down production, Ferrer and Abdul spearheaded the attack with 14 and 11 points, respectively, for the Tigers who suffered their first defeat in four games.

BOX SCORES

NU 55 – Aroga 19, Alejandro 9, Abatayo 8, Diputado 7, Neypes 6, Alolino 2, Javelona 2, Salim 2, Celda 0, Javillonar 0, Lastimosa 0, Tansingco 0

UST 54 – Ferrer 14, Abdul 11, Daquioag 9, Lao 8, Lee 6, Bonleon 3, Vigil 3, Faundo 0, Huang 0, Sheriff 0, Subido 0

BOX SCORES: 17-17, 33-26, 41-43, 55-54

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