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Tiebreaker Times

Bulldogs avoid de ja vu; claim tight win over Warriors

With Roi Sumang handling the ball in the waning moments of the first round game with NU up by two, the Warriors were once again in position for a late game save by their flashy dynamo at the expense of their opponent.

But the Bulldogs are different this season. With Ray Parks ominously sitting in the bleachers, NU held on to escape from the Warriors with a 57-55 victory at the Araneta Colesium.

Much has changed with NU since Roi Sumang stuck a dagger of a trey into their collective mugs in their matchup last season. Parks is no longer there to defend the opposition’s best offensive player. Instead, NU has Alfred Aroga, the imposing hulk of a man who buoyed the Bulldogs to this signature win. With NU funneling all penetration to Aroga, the African deterred many of UE’s attempts at the rim, including Sumang’s potential game tying scoop.

Aroga accumulated a game-high 18 points, which includes NU’s last field goal of the game at the two-minute mark, which put the Bulldogs up, 57-54. Aroga also carried the Bulldogs on the boards, inhaling 15 boards 7 of which came on the offensive glass.

“As far as I’m concerned, all that matters is the team. We don’t care about personal stats, we just care about making each other better,” said Aroga.

Down 36-44, UE unloaded an 18-5 run on the Bulldogs, highlighted by team captain, Pong Gallanza’s two triples positioning themselves with a 54-49 lead with 4 minutes and change left in the game.

Sumang, who played only the last 3:28 of the game, scored UE’s only point beyond the 4:00 mark of the last quarter. Sumang, who missed his second game-tying bucket of the season, finished with 16 points on seven for 16 shooting.

The Bulldogs controlled the third period with their suffocating defense and team captain, Glenn Khobuntin’s reckless drives to the rim. Khobuntin shredded UE’s interior defense for six of his 14 points in the quarter highlighted by a buzzer-beating floater at the end of the quarter, which gave the Bulldogs the lead, 42-36.

Former TIP standout, Throy Rosario, helped NU’s cause, pitching in 11 points including a tough tip-in off a free throw miss during NU’s fourth quarter rally. NU Point Guard, Gelo Alolino had only six points but drained the triple that gave the Bulldogs the lead for good, 55-54, at the 3:28 mark of the final period.

NU, who rockets to the top of the standings with a 5-1 slate, will face the FEU Tamaraws in their final first round matchup.

Written By

Miguel Luis Flores fell face first into sports writing in high sch9l and has never gotten up. He reluctantly stumbled into the volleyball beat when he started with Tiebreaker Times three years ago. Now, he has waded through everything volleyball - from its icky politics to the post-modern art that is Jia Morado's setting.

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