NU routs hapless UP, extends win streak to 6 games
|NU's Bobby "Ray Ray" Parks goes for a difficult shot against UP during their UAAP men's basketball game on Wednesday. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNNews.com|
MANILA -- (UPDATE 2) The National University Bulldogs pulled away in the second half to rout the hapless University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 79-62, and notch their sixth consecutive victory in the UAAP Season 76 men's basketball tournament Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Two-time UAAP Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bobby Ray Parks shone from start to finish as he finished with a season-high 30 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists.
"We talked about this game for the last three days, and we said that we don't want to take UP lightly," NU coach Eric Altamirano said after the game. "There's a significance to this game, because we're heading to the Final Four."
Parks scored 17 points in the opening half, but the Bulldogs only led 43-36 as timely threes by Sam Marata and inside points by Raul Soyud kept the Maroons in the game.
NU finally broke the game open in the third quarter, with Emmanuel Mbe, Joeffrey Javillonar and Gelo Alolino all contributing.
The Bulldogs outscored the Maroons 21-12 in the third to take a double-digit lead, 64-48, going into the final quarter.
A 7-0 run by UP to start the fourth quarter briefly trimmed the NU lead to single-digits, 64-55, but the Bulldogs quickly restored order behind baskets by Parks and Mbe.
Parks highlighted his best performance of the season with a posterization of Soyud late in the final frame, which put the finishing touches on NU's victory.
"We're happy with our game, but I still believe we can do better," said Altamirano. "We can still improve. I like how we're defending, but we have to do a good job defensively against La Salle and Ateneo (in our last two games)."
With their victory, the Bulldogs' record now stands at 9-3 and they are now assured of at least a playoff for a Final Four spot. They also gained some separation from the second-running Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, who have an 8-4 record.
Meanwhile, the Fighting Maroons slumped to their 11th consecutive loss of the season.
Mbe finished with a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Alolino had another all-around game of six points, five boards, and nine of NU's 20 assists.
Soyud scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for UP, while Marata added 13 markers.
NU 79 - Parks 30, Mbe 14, Javillonar 6, Alolino 6, Alejandro 6, Khobuntin 5, Villamor 4, De Guzman 4, Rosario 2, Javelona 2, Rono 0, Porter 0, Neypes 0
UP 62 - Soyud 17, Marata 14, Desiderio 8, Lao 6, Gallarza 4, Ball 4, Wong 3, Pascual 3, Paras 2, Harris 2, Asilum 0, Amar 0
Quarter-scoring: 24-19, 43-36, 64-48, 79-62