Not wanting to be embarrassed after their lavish opening ceremony, season-hosts National University Bulldogs managed to eke out a 75-70 victory over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, Saturday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
This is Jamike Jarin’s first win over Aldin Ayo in the UAAP. Moreover, this is Ayo’s first opening weekend loss during his three-year stay in the UAAP.
“I’d like to commend UST’s coaching staff headed by Aldin Ayo,” Jarin remarked about Ayo and this contest.
Rookie Dave Ildefonso had a spectacular NU debut with 19 points, to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. His older brother Shaun added 11 rebounds and 10 points, while Troy Rike chipped in six points and seven rebounds off the bench.
“I look good because of the way they played,” added Jarin about the three debuting Bulldogs.
With the troika leading the way, the Bulldogs surged in the third frame, leading by as much as 52 points, 52-35, after a Rike jumper with 1:51 left.
However, Renzo Subido and Steve Akomo rallied the Growling Tigers back to give the Bulldogs a scare in the final stanza.
A huge 8-2 rally capped by a Akomo jumper sliced NU’s lead down to just four, 72-68, with 1:48 remaining. But rookie John Lloyd Clemente showed nerves of steal, scoring on a breakaway layup with 25 ticks to go to seal the win.
“The coaches are not satisfied. We played really good during the third quarter but we did not play selfless in the fourth. It’s a sign that we are a young team but we need to mature fast,” said Jarin.
Issa Gaye was the anchor of the Bulldogs with eight blocks and six points.
Ildefonso’s batchmate CJ Cansino paced UST with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Akomo tallied 12 points and 16 rebounds.
The backcourt of Marvin Lee and Renzo Subido combined to shoot just 8-for-23 from the field. Subido finished the game with 15 markers.
NU look to make it back-to-back wins when they face the University of the East Red Warriors on Sunday, September 16, at the Filoil Flying V Centre. UST, on the other hand, take on the Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Wednesday, September 12, at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
NU 75 – Ildefonso D 19, Ildefonso S 10, Joson 8, Clemente 6, Gaye 6, Rike 6, Aquino 4, Sinclair 4, Galinato 4, Yu 3, Gallego 3, Diputado 2, Morido 0
UST 70 – Cansino 20, Subido 15, Akomo 12, Lee 6, Caunan 6, Zamora 5, Huang 4, Bataller 2, Cosejo 0, Marcos 0, Bonleon 0
Quarterscores: 14-14, 33-28, 54-37, 75-70