Posted Feb 16th 2014
NU faces UST with Teng back in fold
By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Aug 24th 2013
National University (NU)’s defensive dogs are set to run after a comebacking cat today as the Bulldogs battle a returning Jeric Teng and an inspired University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Round 2 of the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The second-running Bulldogs (6-3) meet the slumping Tigers (4-4) anew in the 4 p.m. joust with UST hoping to capitalize on Teng’s return and end a two-game slide back in the first round.
But NU won’t easily oblige as the Bulldogs seek to keep their momentum going for a third straight victory no less, following an 80-48 thrashing of Adamson University last August 18.
A victory by the Bulldogs will further solidify their hold of second place but a loss to the Tigers puts them just within catching distance from University of the East (5-3) and De La Salle University (5-4).
“Every game is important and we have to treat it with a sense of urgency because given the tight positioning in the team standings, one game, one loss, will really matter,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.
UST mentor Pido Jarencio shared Altamirano’s observation.
“Bawal na kaming matalo kasi siguradong maiipit na kami sa gitna at baka bumagsak pa sa baba,” said Jarencio, whose wards took a long break after their scheduled game with defending champion Ateneo de Manila University was cancelled last Wednesday due to inclement weather.
“Mas mabigat na yung preparation namin ngayon kasi mas matindi na yung mga laban sa second round. Ganado yung team kasi nakabalik na si Jeric (Teng).”
With Teng back in the fold, Jarencio expects the Tigers to show more fluidity, resolve, and better decision-making down the stretch.
Last August 15, the Tigers yielded a costly inbound error in the dying seconds of their match against University of the East (UE), allowing Roi Sumang to steal the game with the winning lay-up, 68-67.
Back in the first round, NU survived a Teng-less UST fightback to hack out a 71-67 result. In that same outing, Teng suffered a severe right shoulder injury after a hard push by NU forward Jeff Javillonar.
“With or without Teng, we will prepare hard for UST,” Altamirano said.
Half of that NU preparation will be anchored on Emmanuel Mbe and Bobby Ray Parks, whose individual brilliance continue to shine for the Bulldogs. Defensively, NU has steadily picked up its game, clogging the middle with authority like what it did it to Adamson's Ingrid Sewa and Rodney Brondial who were just held to a combined 13 points and seven rebounds in 23-plus minutes of play.
Meanwhile, the Tigers saw the resurgence of Karim Abdul’s double-double game with the Cameroonian big man tallying 23 points and 20 rebounds against UE. But aside from Teng and Abdul, UST also needs guys like Kevin Ferrer, Clark Bautista, Ed Daquioag and Aljon Mariano to hit paydirt.
Yesterday, Mariano was cleared to play against NU after suffering a mild sprain during a rebound scuffle in the UE game.
The game will air live on Studio 23, BALLS HD 167 and uaapsports.tv with a same day replay tonight at 10 p.m. on BALLS SkyCable channel 34/ Destiny channel 36.