Defending champion National University (NU) has pumped life to its Final Four hopes, with veteran playmaker Gelo Alolino leading the way.
The 6-footer Alolino came through with his finest offensive performance, powering the Bulldogs to a crucial victory over reeling host University of the Philippines last Sunday and into the top four of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAA) Season 78 men’s basketball tournament.
Alolino sizzled with a career-best 26 points, 12 of them coming in the payoff canto, on top of 10 rebounds and three assists, enabling the Bulldogs to hold off the Fighting Maroons 75-69 at the Araneta Coliseum.
That offensive explosion came on the heels of Alolino’s all-around outing in their 81-73 win over La Salle on October 28, scattering seven points, nine rebounds and seven assists.
The notable exploits of Alolino helped NU improve to 6-7 and move up to fourth spot after La Salle suffered its third straight setback, a 62-73 decision against archnemesis Ateneo, causing it to drop to a 5-7 mark.
“There is no special game plan, we just executed our defense well. Our defense turned out to be our offense as well,” said Alolino, who earned the Accel Quantum/3XVI-UAAP Press Corps Player of the Week (POW) honors.
“We made stops and we made easy baskets on transition. Credit to my teammates for finding me, when I’m open,” he added.