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Mike Malonzo provides NU heroics with only thing he knows best — defense


If there was one moment from National University’s 78-74 win over Ateneo de Manila University which personified the Bulldogs’ spirit, it was Mike Malonzo’s tough defense on Dave Ildefonso with 23.7 seconds remaining that showed how much Jeff Napa’s boys wanted the win.

Ildefonso looked like he was going to level the ballgame with the score at 74-72 in favor of NU, only for Malonzo to swarm him and force the former to miss.

Malonzo played close to 20 minutes, contributing seven points, four rebounds, and two steals, and demonstrated that he is one of the toughest defenders in the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

“Ginawa ko lang yung trabaho ko, yung role na binigay sa akin ni Coach Jeff [Napa] para makatulong sa team,” said the Pampanga native.

Throughout this season, Napa has always called upon his players to make themselves worthy of being part of the big boys in this league.

Most of the time, the likes of Steve Nash Enriquez and Kean Baclaan hog the headlines. This time around, it was Malonzo and teammate Jolo Manansala, who led NU with 17 points and 11 rebounds.UAAP-85-MBB-ADMU-vs.-NU-7904-1 Mike Malonzo provides NU heroics with only thing he knows best -- defense Basketball News NU UAAP  - philippine sports news

“Ngayon si Mike (Malonzo) at si Jolo (Manansala), they imposed themselves. Dalawang kapampangan. Gov Delta (Pineda) thank you,” said Napa.

“Rest assured, itong mga batang to, kasama ang mga nandun na 16-man strong, we will keep working hard together with our coaches na hanggang sa matapos ang second round.

“Kailangan we will impose yung pangalan ng NU talaga eh. We will impose our name, National University, on the map of the UAAP na medyo matagal na natulog eh,” the second year Bulldogs head coach continued. “I’m really proud of coaching this team, these players na day in or day out, all out.”

For his part, Malonzo is just eager to be a good leader on and off the court for the Bulldogs. This is his fourth UAAP campaign and he is yet to taste action in the Final Four and beyond.

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Being so close to the promised land, he and his fellow seniors Robert Minerva and John Lloyd Clemente are doing everything they can to lead the team to that goal.

“Kung ano lang talaga yung maitutulong natin sa team, ibibigay talaga namin… Kailangan lang namin i-guide yung mga bago para mag fit in lahat sa system,” the 23-year-old NU senior said.

This season, NU has beaten the likes of Ateneo, De La Salle University, and defending champions University of the Philippines.

While these wins are big, Malonzo and the rest of the Bulldogs still have a long way to go before they can truly celebrate.

Indeed, it’s back to the drawing board albeit with a ton of momentum on their side.

“We have a game on Saturday against FEU… We really need to come out strong especially on Saturday against FEU dahil nga tinalo kami noon eh. Yung FEU nakakabwelo na rin,” said Napa.

“In order to keep up the pace, kung ano yung goal namin na gusto mangyari, we have to work hard pa rin. Kahit ano mangyari. Walang excuse. We just keep working hard.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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