#UAAP77: Kontra Pelo

Pao Javelona and the rest of NU have been the perfect foils
to Chris Newsome and the rest of Ateneo.

It took NU’s J-Jay Alejandro just 14 shots (including free throws) to score a team-high 20 points. He shot 3/4 from beyond the arc, 3/3 from the 2-point area, and 5/7 from the line. He also had a pair of rebounds, 4 assists and 0 turnovers.

Former Mapua Red Robin and RP-Youth star J-Jay Alejandro caught fire against the Blues.
Coach Eric Altamirano had no recourse but to go to Alejandro. He had the hot hand, and Pao Javelona was inconsistent on offense.

On the other hand, it took Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena a total of 43 shots to tally a game-high 24 markers. He shot 2/9 from beyond the arc, 7/26 from the 2-point area, and 4/9 from the stripe. He impressed with 6 boards, 3 dimes, and just 1 turnover.

Coach Bo Perasol deliberately centers his offense around Kiefer, the league’s MVP. Even when he’s shooting blanks, the Phenom remains Ateneo’s default scoring option.

Kiefer all the way.
Ravena is Ateneo's default scoring option in coach Bo's system.

In that contrast lies the stark difference between NU and Ateneo.

NU is, by far, a deeper team. Coach E has, at his disposal, a stacked roster with practically anyone capable of scoring in bunches. In three games, seven Bulldogs have scored in double-digits at least once. In the same span, five Eagles have scored in double-digits at least once.

After three games, it’s clear NU has been more balanced, more stable, and more composed.

In contrast, Ateneo has been equal parts predictable and erratic.

What does NU have to do to win next Wednesday?

It’s simple. The Bulldogs just have to keep doing what they’ve been doing – outrebound Ateneo, keep the MVP in check, and dare the other Eagles to make their shots.

NU knows it has more than what it takes to notch its sixth win in a row against Ateneo ever
since coach Bo Perasol took over.

What does Ateneo have to do to win next Wednesday?

It’s more complicated. They have to pull a rabbit our of the hat and surprise NU with something they’ve never seen before. What could that be? Maybe someone else scoring heavily aside from Kief? Maybe quicker transition defense? Maybe finding a way to NOT start slow for a change?

These two teams cannot be any more different.

Their head-to-head record dating back to Season 76 suggests that this is a one-sided affair.

Coach Bo has yet to figure out Coach E.

NU has been Ateneo’s kontra pelo, so something has got to give, right?

Something has got to change.

All images are from FullCourtFresh.com (Martin San Diego & Ralpf Samson)

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