Behind stellar performances from their veterans and suffocating halfcourt defense, the NU Bulldogs outclassed the UP Maroons, 70-59, in Season 77 of the UAAP at the Araneta Colesium.
While they were dominating UP with their halfcourt defense, the Bulldogs looked sluggish offensively to start off the game, coughing the ball up and giving the Maroons easy opportunities in transition. UP also kept themselves afloat in the first half with timely three-point shots from Rey Gallarza and Dave Moralde, who had two treys apiece before the second half.
The Bulldogs got it together offensively in the second half and proceeded to overwhelm the perpetually struggling Maroons in the paint. The towering tandem of returning African player, Alfred Aroga and former RP youth standout, Throy Rosario took turns abusing the vertically challenged frontline of UP, scoring 15 of NU’s 20 third quarter points. Aroga also anchored NU’s disruptive defense as the Bulldogs siphoned all opposing penetration his way and he proceeded to swat at everything shot his way. The NU defense only allowed UP to shoot a devastating 38 percent from the field, which were mostly forced jump shots.
Aroga finished with 16 points, 11 boards, 3 blocks and a steal. Rosario continued his solid start to his final playing year as he pitched in 17 points and inhaled nine boards.
Former Perpetualite, Angelo Alolino spearheaded NU’s romping of the Maroons, as the shifty guard scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter. Alolino also nailed four of his seven attempts from distance while providing steady ball handling and perimeter defense throughout the game.
Dave Moralde led the Maroons in scoring with 15 markers on six of twelve shooting from the field while Rey Gallarza contributed 10 points.
“We’re happy with the win but I’m not really happy with how we played, we were very erratic and undisciplined today,” said NU Coach, Eric Altamerano whose Bulldogs gave up 21 turnovers despite the double-digit win.
The Bulldogs will have no room for mistakes as they will face the defending champions, DLSU Green Archers, next on July 23 then the retooled Ateneo Blue Eagles after.