The Games That Play Us: No Mbe, No Problem

Henri Betayene (L) filled in well for the void left
by the absence of Emmanuel Mbe.


Nobody missed Emmanuel Mbe. How could anyone miss him when Henri Betayene, NU’s OTHER Cameroonian import, raked in his first career double-double in the UAAP?

This game was by no means a blowout. It wasn’t a repeat of the spanking the Reds received on opening day. It wasn’t nearly as lopsided as people probably expected. It still, however, ended up in the win column for Coach Eric Altamirano’s Bulldogs.

And, yes, Ray Parks led the way. Yes, that’s expected. He was his regular all-around awesome self. LeBron James of the Philippines? Perhaps.

But without the Robin to Parks’s Batman, NU was supposed to struggle, right?

Yes, right, but it was Betayene who donned Robin’s cape instead of Mbe. He was just a revelation in this match. The kid was everywhere.

Betayene started at center and produced the numbers expected of a great starting center. All in all, he contributed 11 points, 12 rebounds, and a block in 26 minutes of action. He was efficient. He was effective. He was everything the Henry Sy-funded bayside boys needed to bounce back after the stinging loss to UST last weekend.

NU’s performance here, though, was far from just a two-man show. Jeoff Javillonar was solid with 11 points and 5 rebounds, while second-string PG Robin Roño proved to be a more capable quarterback than Gelo Alolino. Roño scored 9 points and grabbed 6 boards in 14 minutes, while Alolino poured in 10 points, but turned the ball over 5 times. Mark De Guzman had his moments, too, scoring 7 points on a couple of daring drives. The former LSGH and CSB star has a tendency to try and do everything by himself, but he’ll be a vital piece if NU wants to barge into the Final Four in the next few weeks.

In Recto, meanwhile, Coach Boysie Zamar is getting accustomed to the loss column quite quickly. Chris Javier, Roi Sumang, JR Sumido, and Adrian Santos all clicked in this game, but they still wound up losing. That’s got to be a frustrating conundrum for Coach Zamar, but who has the answers anyway? He’s hoping they can find some before the season winds up.

In the meantime, Emmanuel Mbe is probably feeling a little conflicted. It was no Mbe, no problem for NU, and he’s probably left wondering if Betayene has earned more minutes going into the next few games. Somewhere, the 6’7” Mbe is looking over his broad shoulders.

Mark De Guzman and the Bulldogs move closer
to a Final Four seat after beating UE.

Ray Parks continues to put up the numbers that might
secure for him a second MVP award.

The scores:

NU 83 – Parks 21, Javillonar 11, Betayene 11, Alolino 10, Roño 9, Neypes 8, De Guzman 7, Villamor 6, Singh 0, Rosario 0, Labing-isa 0, Khobuntin 0
UE 74 – Javier 19, Sumang 17, Sumido 15, Belleza 11, Santos 10, Olayon 2, Villarias 0, Valdez 0, Hernandez 0, Galanza 0, Flores 0, Duran 0
QS: 16-14, 37-35, 58-47, 83-74
Key Performances:
Ray Parks (NU) – 21pts, 8asts, 6rebs, 1stl
Henri Betayene (NU) – 11pts, 12rebs, 2blks, 1ast
Roi Sumang (UE) – 17pts, 4rebs, 4asts, 3 treys, 2stls, 1blk

 All images are from the University Basketball League.
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