Defending champion National University (NU) guns for crucial win against University of the East (UE) when the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament second round of elimination begins today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The NU-UE match is at 4 p.m. after the University of the Philippines-Adamson University game at 2 p.m.
After the first round, the Bulldogs found themselves in fifth place with a 3-4 card behind co-leaders University of Santo Tomas (6-1) and Far Eastern University (6-1), and Ateneo de Manila University (4-3) and De La Salle University (4-3).
NU wrapped up its first-round campaign with a 59-61 close decision against FEU on Wednesday. But the Bulldogs remained positive. They actually lost in four games via 3.25-point margin – 63-67 against La Salle, 71-76 against UE and 70-74 (double overtime) against Ateneo.
Two NU players – Joshua Alolino and Alfred Aroga – are also playing consistent both on offense and defense.
Alolino had 13.17 points, 3.57 assists and 1.29 steals in seven games while Aroga was unstoppable in rebounding department with 12.17 average boards apart from his 1.0 average block per game.
The Red Warriors, on the other hand, are coming off a four-game losing skid.
After a 2-1 start, UE lost its next assignments and dropped to a 2-5 record.
UE’s top scorer Edison Batiller was limited to just two points when they lost to La Salle (64-71) and five points when they were beaten by UST (76-83).
Sophmore Paul Varilla and skipper Chris Javier rose to the occasion but failed to get enough support from the rest of the Red Warriors.
Against the Growling Tigers, Varilla fired 25 points highlighted by a sterling 4-of-6 shooting clip from beyond the arc while Javier added 12 markers and five boards and a couple of blocks.
UE must bring its A-game to duplicate its first-round win against NU. Batiller scored 23 huge points against NU in their first meeting.