UAAP: Parks, NU come from behind, deal FEU's first loss
(Updated 8:20pm) The National University Bulldogs showed that they could close out tight games, and in the process, handed the Far Eastern University Tamaraws their first loss of the season, 61-57, in the first round of the UAAP men's seniors division basketball tournament, Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bobby Ray Parks led his team with 17 points, with majority of his points coming from the foul line, thanks to a 2-for-9 outing from the field. He also tallied six boards and seven assists. Big men Emmanuel Mbe and Spencer Rosario added 12 markers apiece and combined for 19 rebounds for NU.
"Our team lacked composure in previous games," said Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano, contrasting his team’s win with the past. He also expressed satisfaction at how his team handled the pressure in a game that went down the wire.
"It was just important for us to attack the boards," said Parks, who tallied only two points in the first half when his team trailed by as much as 13. "I told our team to just shoot the ball. We take those shots in practice, and it was just about making them in the game."
NU raced out to an early 6-0 lead, backed by four points from Gelo Alolino, but the Tams responded with seven unanswered of their own, highlighted by offensive rebounding and a three-ball by Terrence Romeo.
Emmmanuel Mbe scored NU's next four points as the Bulldogs traded the lead against baskets by Mark Bringas and Gryann Mendoza. A pair of charities put the Bulldogs ahead, 12-11, with two minutes to play, but Mac Belo edged FEU ahead, adding four points in the last minute for a 15-12 Tamaraws advantage after the first quarter.
Belo scored anew to open the second quarter for the Tams and Romeo followed it up with a triple to create a 20-12 lead. Javillonar was fouled on the next possession and made both from the line, while Alolino found his way to the rim again to keep NU within striking distance, 20-16.
With under six minutes left in the half, Romeo nailed his third triple of the game from the left wing. Backcourt partner RR Garcia chipped in a baseline jumper for the Tams, and Romeo finished anew in transition. A long deuce by Carl Cruz then capped nine unanswered points for the Tamaraws, 29-16, 4:07 left.
To the Bulldogs' credit, they blanked FEU from the field in the last four minutes of the half. They did themselves no favors, however, by going 2-of-6 from the line during the same stretch. Mbe and Rosario scored seven in an 8-1 run leading into halftime, but NU still trailed, 30-24.
In the third period, the FEU bench tallied six points in an 8-4 burst for the Tamaraws, but the team got into foul trouble early, with Parks and Mbe trooping to the line often. The two went a combined 6-for-10, but FEU was still ahead, 45-36.
With under two and a half ticks in the quarter, Robin Rono splashed in a three from the left baseline, their first outside shot in the game. On the next play, Parks received a flagrant foul from Cris Tolomia, who struck him on the head while trying to stop a dunk try. He sank both charities, and then Mbe delivered at the rim on the bonus possession, capping off seven unanswered for the Bulldogs, getting them within a deuce, 45-43.
A bucket by Cruz with 30 ticks in the quarter gave the Tams some relief, but Villamor nailed a trey on the last possession to bring NU within one, 47-46.
The final period got off to a sluggish start while FEU still led, 50-48, on split free throws by Anthony Hargrove. But NU peaked at the right time when reserve center Henri Betayene nailed a basket to tie the game. After an extended stint off the court due to the after-effects of the hard foul, Parks announced his return with a turnaround jumper and Rosario chipped in a hook shot to give the Bulldogs a 54-50 lead with three and a half minutes to play.
RR Garcia answered on the other end with a three-ball from the right baseline, followed by a tough layup by Mark Bringas, 55-54 with just under two minutes left, but NU retook the lead, on yet another hoop and the harm play by Parks, 57-55.
Romeo knotted the game anew with a jumper from the right baseline, but undaunted, Parks edged the Bulldogs ahead with a charity, 58-57, less than a minute left.
The Tamaraws called a timeout to draw up a play, but Romeo was stopped above the three-point arc, and gave up the ball to Chris Tolomia, who missed a long heave from the left wing. Rookie Mac Belo got a defensive stop for FEU on the next play, but after an Mbe foul, missed two clutch free throws at the line.
Forced to stop the clock, FEU fouled Parks with sixteen ticks and he converted both from the line. Romeo then missed a long heave on the next play, failing to force overtime, and Mark De Guzman closed things out at the line.
Terrence Romeo led all scorers with 18 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three steals. However, the third-year guard was a weak 7-for-19 from the floor. Mark Bringas and Mac Belo had eight markers each and combined for eight rebounds, while former MVP RR Garcia, stifled defensively by NU, notched just five points, going 2-for-13 from the field.
The Bulldogs made 18-of-52 from the field, or 35 percent of their attempts, but FEU was no better, going 33 percent on a 24-for-72 clip. NU’s advantage though, was a whopping 23-of-33 clip from the foul line, compared to a meagre 4-of-11 night by FEU. Parks himself was 13-for-17, as the Tamaraw defense couldn’t keep him off the stripe.
Having gotten back above the .500 line at 3-2, NU will try to establish a win-streak when they face off against the Adamson Falcons on Sunday. FEU, now with a loss to their name at 4-1, will try to recover when they play UP, on the same day. - AMD, GMA News
NU 61: Parks 17, Rosario 12, Mbe 12, Alolino 6, Villamor 4, Javillonar 4, Rono 3, Betayene 2, De Guzman 1, Singh 0
FEU 57: Romeo 18, Belo 8, M Bringas 8, Garcia 5, A Bringas 5, Mendoza 4, Cruz 4, Hargrove 3, Escoto 2, Tolomia 0, Sentchu 0, Pogoy 0
Quarter scoring: 12-15, 24-30, 46-47, 61-57
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