The Games That Play Us: Rabid

Robin Roño and Mark De Guzman are all smiles
as the Bulldogs beat the Maroons.


Because the Bulldogs scored “just” 67 points, which was just 2 more than they scored against the Blue Eagles last weekend, I’m half-tempted to say they weren’t very impressive in this game. I’m half-tempted to say this was mainly a display of UP’s hardcourt woes rather than NU’s hardcourt wonder.

Then again, if I did that, I’d be discounting the first 20 minutes of the game, where the Bulldogs were all too happy to dump their frustrations on the hapless Fighting Maroons.

8 days after their shellacking of the UE Red Warriors on opening day, the Bulldogs were under a lot of pressure to continue on their winning ways at the expense of Ateneo. By now, we all know what happened with that.

Coach Eric Altamirano, of course, was raring to vent, and Coach Ricky Dandan’s wards happened to be the next guys on the way.

By the end of the first half, it was clear the Sampaloc squad was out for blood.

They played tenacious defense, forcing 12 UP turnovers and converting those into 17 NU points. The Bulldogs also shared the ball better, getting 9 assists to just 6 for UP, and were more aggressive in attacking the basket, which led to them shooting 14 free throws compared to only 2 for the Diliman five. 

At this time, Ray Parks and Emmanuel Mbe combined for 19 points, which was more than what the whole Iskolar ng Bayan team could muster in 20 minutes. Parks was well on his way to another stat-stuffing game with 4 assists, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds to go with his 11 markers. Mbe, too, was a beast, adding 9 boards to his 8-point contribution.

The only reprieve, it seemed, was UP’s brilliant Pep Squad, which has usually been the case with this UP team for the past few seasons.

Things wouldn’t really get much better in the third period, where both teams looked listless and bored. NU and UP combined for just 20 third quarter points mainly due to UP shooting just 31% from the floor and the Bulldogs faring even worse at 14%. Still, it was enough for NU to coast. It seemed like didn’t really have any motivation to pummel the Maroons even more than they already did. By the end of the third frame, it was clear who would end the day with a W.

But there was something in the fourth quarter that would make any passing observer admire the Maroons, or, more aptly, the FIGHTING Maroons. Whereas the first three periods added more fodder to their recent history of futility, the final 10 minutes gave us a glimpse of how good they could be.

UP outscored NU, 22-15, in the fourth. They shot a blistering 55% from the field. They forced 10 NU turnovers and converted these into 11 points. They had more steals and assists than the Bulldogs. And this wasn’t exactly because Coach Altamirano sat his stars. Parks and CSB transferee Mark De Guzman each played 7 minutes, while starters Mbe, Gelo Alolino and Jeoff Javillonar were on the floor for at least 4 minutes each. UP was just really good in the final frame.

Too little too late, but, if you’re a UP fan, you still have to feel positive. The core of Mike Silungan, Jett Manuel, Jelo Montecastro, and Mark Lopez combined for all but 2 points in their fourth quarter outburst. To be frank, one major key in UP’s grand finish was this – Raul Soyud attempted ZERO shots in the fourth. He played 4 minutes contributing absolutely nothing, and, strangely, things turned for the better for his team. Does this mean he shouldn’t play at all? Of course not, but he has yet to show why he should be a top option on offense. Overall he shot just 1-of-6 from the field with just 3 rebounds, 0 blocks and 2 turnovers.

In the end, the rabid Bulldogs’ lead was just too big to overhaul – the hole the Maroons dug for themselves too deep. NU really wanted to make a statement in this game, and, though it wasn’t exactly as resounding as their win over UE, it still fulfilled its purpose.

Ray Parks was his all-around awesome self again
against UP.
Right now, the only thing worth watching if you're a UP fan.


NU 76 – Parks 18, Mbe 17, Javillonar 9, Rono 7, Alolino 6, Villamor 4, Ignacio 4, De Guzman 2, Singh 0, Rosario 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0, Betayene 0
UP 50 – Silungan 11, Manuel 11, Montecastro 10, Ball 4, Lopez 4, Hipolito 4, Asilum 4, Soyud 2, Mbah 0, Romero 0, Padilla 0, Gamboa 0
QS: 16-10, 42-18, 52-28, 67-50
Notable Performers:
Ray Parks (NU) – 18pts, 6asts, 4rebs, 3stls
Emmanuel Mbe (NU) – 17pts, 16rebs, 1blk
Jelo Montecastro (UP) – 10pts, 4rebs, 2asts, 2stls

*Images by Richard Esguerra/
Next Post »
0 Comment