The Games That Play Us: Landmark

Ray Parks finally led the Bulldogs to a win over
a legit title contender.


A landmark win on one end, and a landmark loss on another. That’s the story here.

But not for nearly 30 minutes.

For nearly 30 minutes, the FEU Tamaraws looked firmly in control of the ballgame. For 30 minutes, it looked like NU would, again, be destined for scrutiny as a team who could beat the long shots, but not the contenders. For 30 minutes, Terrence Romeo’s hot hand seemed good enough to make up for the anemic shooting of the rest of the Green & Gold squad.

Unfortunately for Coach Bert Flores, a basketball game in the UAAP doesn’t end anywhere close to 30 minutes.

And perhaps for the rest of the league, NU’s message was clear – you can spend most of the game building a comfortable lead, but we only need a quarter or so to erase it.

Victim number one? FEU.

For most of the game, FEU seemed poised to come out winning, what with the way their defense seemed to stifle NU, and with Romeo scoring almost at will.

With under 4 minutes left in the third period, Arvie Bringas received a Mike Tolomia pass and promptly converted it, helping FEU erect a solid 45-33 bulge. Yes, a 12-point lead with more than a quarter left is hardly game over, but the way FEU was playing suggested they weren’t going to let this slip.

But they did.

And it’s not like they changed anything from their game plan. They continued to go to Romeo. They continued taking their outside shots. In the last 13 minutes, however, these just didn’t fall.

That’s the double-edged reality for a predominantly jump-shooting team like FEU. That’s reason why jumpers are called low-percentage attempts. That’s the reason FEU choked here.

After putting up that 12-point lead, the Tams just failed to convert their perimeter attempts. Romeo, who had made 4 triples and scored 16 points up to that juncture, went cold, making just 1 of his last 8 shots, including missing all of his next 5 attempts from rainbow land. His backcourt mates didn’t fare too well, either. RR Garcia, who was already having a terrible shooting afternoon, Mike Tolomia, and Roger Pogoy combined to shoot just 1-of-6 from beyond the arc thereafter. Not enough? How about Anthony Hargrove, Mark Bringas, and Mark Belo missing a combined 6 of their last 7 free throws?

Things couldn’t have been much worse for FEU, and things couldn’t have been much better for NU.

After going down by 12, the Bulldogs unloaded a 21-5 run bridging the third and fourth periods to snare the lead, 54-50, with about three minutes to go.

The keys for Coach Eric Altamirano? His supporting cast hitting timely shots, and free throw volume

In that decisive run, Robin Roño and Denice Villamor each hit a big three and back-up bigs Troy Rosario and Henri Betayene each scored inside. When FEU made a final mini-run to tie the count at 57, Ray Parks and Mark De Guzman made 4 points from the line for the final margin.

A look at the stats gives two glaring and defining factors -- NU attempted 22 MORE shots from the charity stripe, a testament to their penchant for taking it strong to the hole and getting hacked in the process, and FEU attempted 11 MORE shots from three, a testament to their penchant for living and dying on the perimeter. The Bulldogs converted 23 of their 33 free throws, while the Tamaraws made just 5 of their TWENTY EIGHT three-point tries.

In the end, the percentages caught up with FEU, and they paid for it. In the end, the Bulldogs’ aggressiveness in attacking the basket helped them stay within striking range, and it paid off.

In the end, FEU realized they couldn’t escape all the close games Season 75 had to offer. They had to lose one someday, and today was that day.

In the end, NU finally got over the hump and beat a legitimate contender. They had to win someday, and today was that day – a landmark day.

Terrence Romeo shot the FEU Tamaraws to a big lead,
but he also shot them to a big loss in the end.

Newcomer Troy Rosario had some timely hits as
NU grabbed its third win in five games.


NU 61 – Parks 17, Rosario 12, Mbe 12, Alolino 6, Villamor 4, Javillonar 4, Roño 3, Betayene 2, De Guzman 1, Singh 0
FEU 57 – Romeo 18, Belo 8, Bringas M 8, Garcia 5, Bringas A 5, Mendoza 4, Cruz 4, Hargrove 3, Escoto 2, Tolomia 0, Sentcheu 0, Pogoy 0
QS: 12-15, 24-30, 46-47, 61-57
Notable Performers:
Ray Parks (NU) – 17pts, 7asts, 6rebs, 1stl, 1blk
Emmanuel Mbe (NU) – 12pts, 12rebs, 1ast, 1stl
Terrence Romeo (FEU) – 18pts, 8rebs, 4 treys, 3asts, 3stls

*All images are from the University Basketball League.
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