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NU hands FEU first loss

By Josiah Albelda Posted Aug 14th 2013

Gelo Alolino stepped up for the NU Bulldogs as they handed the FEU Tamaraws their first loss of the season.

When the going got tough, the MVP separated himself from the MVP contender.

Struggling throughout the game, Ray Parks found a way to contribute to his team as National University came from behind to stain Far Eastern University's record with a 59-58 victory in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Parks continued his season-long shooting slump into the game and made just two of 11 shots from the field, but the two-time MVP worked hard on defense and attacked the basket in the end game.

The athletic wingman finished with a paltry output of seven points, six rebounds and two blocks and made three free-throws that pushed NU ahead in the final minute.

"I was thinking I must bail out my teammates from this one," said Parks. "I messed up in the first half. In the second half, I really had to settle down."

"We played together and they picked me up," he added. "I'm thankful for having teammates like them. I'm so proud of this team."

On the other hand, Terrence Romeo, who led the league in statistical points after seven games, fared worse and virtually pushed his team into its first defeat in the tournament.

Even with RR Garcia waxing hot, Romeo forced shots, took bad attempts and even turned the ball over late in the game as the league scoring leader was held to eight points on two of 16 shooting.

"I told the team before the game that for us to beat FEU, we really had to assert ourselves on defense," said coach Eric Altamirano. "I think we showed today that we can grind it out."

With Parks and Jean Mbe failing to get into rhythm for most of the game, the Bulldogs banked on contributions from their other players.

Gelo Alolino gamely took the mantle of leadership and fired 13 points to tie his career high output while grabbing five rebounds and getting two steals.

"In the end, we were down by four but the boys did not lose heart," Altamirano shared. "We regrouped at that crucial part of the game and we were able to come back because of our defense."

Proving their coach's point, the Bulldogs held the Morayta-based squad scoreless in the last 3:41 to earn their fifth win in eight games.

Reserve forward Glenn Khobuntin, likewise, helped NU out with 10 points and five boards even as Maurice Porter did a good job shackling Romeo while posting four points and four rebounds.

Garcia abused Nico Javelona's defense and delivered a season-best 20 points, but no other Tamaraw finished in double figures as they combined to shoot a forgettable 31.9% from the field.

The scores:

NU (59) - Alolino 13, Mbe 10, Khobuntin 10, Parks 7, Villamor 4, Rono 4, Porter 4, Perez 4, Javilonar 2, Alejandro 1, Javelona 0, De Guzman 0

FEU (58) - Garcia 20, Tolomia 8, Romeo 8, Cruz 6, Belo 5, Mendoza 4, Hargrove 3, Inigo 2, Pogoy 2, Sentcheu 0, Jose 0, Dennison 0, Aguilon 0

Quarters: 17-17, 31-25, 50-43, 59-58