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Bulldogs defang Tigers behind Rono sniping

By Anthony Divinagracia Posted Aug 24th 2013

NU repeated over UST behind the hot-shooting of Robin Rono, who tallied a game-high 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting beyond the arc.

National University (NU) spoiled the return of Jeric Teng on Saturday as the Bulldogs repeated over University of Santo Tomas (UST), 75-61 -- behind the red-hot shooting of back-up guard Robin Rono -- to complete a three-game winning streak in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

Rono tallied a game-high 19 points, including 12 in the crucial fourth quarter – all on three-point shots – to fuel a closing 15-4 salvo that put the Bulldogs ahead for good. The 5-foot-9 Rono went 5-of-6 from down town aside from grabbing four rebounds and two steals in just 19 minutes of play. He got ample support from Denice Villamor who finished with 18 points, nine boards and four dimes in 22 minutes.

“It was a collective effort. Our bench stepped up led by Robin Rono and his three-point shots. That was the key,” NU coach Eric Altamirano said after the Bulldogs booked their third straight win to remain solid at second place with a 7-3 card.

“When they (UST) played zone, Robin was there to make the (outside) shots. (But) we attribute everything on our defense. Our defense really creates shots for us.”

True enough, NU’s close-out defense yielded 15 turnover points against zero for the Tigers. The Bulldogs also had more fastbreak points (25-8) mostly off UST’s unforced errors.

 “UST is a very strong team. That’s why we have to play better defense so that we can limit their normal output. We also prepared hard for Jeric (Teng). Our challenge really was to shut them down.”

And the Bulldogs did just like that.

Unfazed by Teng’s return, the Bulldogs showed their zest for bite early on with Villamor, Rono, and Alolino finding their marks in the first two quarters to offset the Tigers’ defense on Parks and Mbe and keep UST at bay, 36-33, going into the break.

Despite trailing most of the first half, the Tigers remained calm. But that composure quickly thawed as Teng limped on the floor after chasing a driving Rono to the hoop. The veteran Teng was escorted back to the dugout after suffering spasms on his left leg and rode the bench for the entire second half.

Minus Teng and with a previously injured Aljon Mariano visibly out-of-sync, the Tigers rode on the shoulders of Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag, whose and-one play and succeeding basket tied the count at 38-all early in the third frame.

Yet the Bulldogs re-channelled their defense on the perimeter, forcing the Tigers to elect hurried shots or throw the ball over.

It was all NU from thereon as the Bulldogs unleashed a crippling 19-2 attack hinged on Villamor’s seven-point binge to open a 56-42 lead going into the final period.

Bobby Ray Parks had a quiet outing with 10 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in 31 minutes. Gelo Alolino also scored 10 while Emmanuel Mbe  wound up with just four markers and nine caroms.

Abdul paced UST anew with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Ferrer added 11 and 12 boards while Mariano and Daquioag chipped in nine apiece.

The Scores:

NU 75 – Rono 19, Villamor 18, Parks 10, Alolino 10, Khobuntin 9, Mbe 4, Javillonar 3, Perez 2, Rosario 0, Porter 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0, Javelona 0, Alejandro 0.

UST 61 – Abdul 18, Ferrer 11, Mariano 9, Daquioag 9, Lo 5, Bautista 5, Teng 2, Sheriff 2, Tan 0, Pe 0, Lao 0.

Quarter scores: 17-14, 36-33, 56-44, 75-61.