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Tiebreaker Times


Bulldogs pounce on Blue Eagles to stay unscathed

The National University Bulldogs turned the initially free-flowing match into a grind-out game that worked into their favor to gain a 70-60 win over the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, Sunday evening at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

With the win, the Bulldogs remain one of only two teams to keep their slate intact.

Rev Diputado was a terror on both ends of the court. On the offensive end, he tallied 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds. On the other end, he set the tone of the Bulldogs’ pressing defense and was able to notch three steals.

“Rev stepped up for us,” NU head coach Eric Altamirano remarked about Diputado. “Aside from his tenacious defense, he was able to find good looks and was able to penetrate Ateneo’s defense.”

After a close first half that saw both squads knotted at 32-all, the Bulldogs locked down on defense, stiffling the Blue Eagles. Salem fought through early foul trouble, leading the Bulldog charge on the other end. The former Green Archer went on a 5-0 run with 2:31 remaining that gave the Bulldogs a game-high 14 points lead, 51-37.

“He provided a spark in the third quarter and he was also able to rebound,” Altamirano said about Salem, who had 12 points, nine coming from downtown, and eight rebounds.

Filipino-American Adrian Wong sparked the Blue Eagles early in the final frame, scoring five straight points to pump up the Ateneo faithful in attendance. The backcourt of Anton Asistio and Matt Nieto then provided the energy with various drives to the paint and jumpers that helped cut NU’s lead to just five, 61-56, with 3:36 remaining.

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However, the steady hands of Alfred Aroga from the stripe, and a backbreaking jumper by Rev Diputado with 2:52 remaining, demoralized the Blue Eagles, who now fall to an even slate.

“As expected, we knew that Ateneo has a new team,” Altamirano furthered. “They are a young team but are very disciplined.”

“We continued to remind the boys to follow the process. It was a per possession game and each possession was important. We turned it into a defensive game.”

Alfred Aroga shot just 2-of-9 from the field for 11 points. The Cameroonian student-athlete added six rebounds and two swats to his tally.

NU overpowered the Blue Eagles, out-rebounding them 46 to 39 and scoring 34 of their 70 points in the paint.

Mike Nieto paced Ateneo with 14 points, 11 coming in the first half. Wong added nine markers.

The Bulldogs (2-0) will have the De La Salle University Green Archers (2-0) next on their slate on Saturday, September 18, at 2:00pm. On the other hand, the Ateneo Blue Eagles (1-1) look to bounce back against the Far Eastern UniversityTamaraws (1-1) on Wednesday, September 14 at 4:00pm. The former will be played at the Araneta Coliseum, while the ADMU-FEU tilt is scheduled to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:

NU (70) – Diputado R. 16, Salem 12, Aroga 11, Morido 10, Alejandro 8, Salim 4, Diputado C. 4, Rangel 2, Gallego 2, Pate 1, Abatayo 0, Mosqueda 0, Yu 0, Go 0, Sinclair 0

ADMU (60) – Nieto Mi. 14, Wong 9, Asistio 8, Ikeh 8, Nieto Ma. 7, Babilonia 4, Black 4, Ravena 2, Go 2, Verano 2, Tolentino 0, Porter 0.

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Quarterscores: 20-20, 32-32, 52-41, 70-60.

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