By Antonio Lorenzo Regondola
Attacking the rim at will, the National University had a field day at the foul line as they disposed the University of the Philippines, 74-60, in the first round of the UAAP Season 76 Men’s Basketball Tournament Saturday at the MOA Arena.
“We sent them to the line 40 times and they scored 30 points on us from the free throw [line]. That was just too much for us to bear in the end,” Fighting Maroons coach Ricky Dandan said, whose squad remains at the cellar with a 0-4 slate.
Dandan also was not pleased with the Maroons’ defense after they fouled NU 28 times.
NU made 30-of-40 free throws in the game. Bobby Ray Parks led the Bulldogs with 18 points, hitting 14-of-18 from the charity stripe.
Center Emmanuel Mbe added 15 markers and 12 rebounds, while Jeth Rosario scored 10 markers with five rebounds.
Point guard Joshua Alolino became a key player for NU as he tallied 12 points, six rebounds, and seven assists.
“He’s not a scoring guard. He’s really more of a look-to-pass guard, loves to create. He may not be the number one point guard in the league right now, but he should be somewhere there on top,” Altamirano said of Alolino.
The Maroons, meanwhile, attempted only 15 free throws the entire game, converting nine.
Swingman Sam Marata topped all UP scorers with 14 points but he struggled from the field and made only 4-of-16 shots.
Rookie Kyles Lao scored 11 points off the bench. Raul Soyud had 10 points and a monster rebounding game, grabbing 20 missed shots with eight coming from the offensive end.
NU was up 53-47 entering the final period, and they blew it wide open in the fourth coming from a 19-5 spurt sparked by Rosario’s three consecutive shots in the paint to keep UP at bay for good.
The Maroons will face the Ateneo de Manila Blue Eagles next Sunday, 2 pm at the MOA Arena.
NU – Parks 18, Mbe 15, Alolino 12, Rosario 10, Javillonar 9, Roño 3, Alejandro 3, Villamor 2, Khobuntin 2, Porter 0, De Guzman 0
UP – Marata 14, Lao 11, Soyud 10, Ball 8, Gallarza 5, Pascual 3, Gingerich 3, Asilum 3, Wong 2, Ligad 1, Suarez 0, Paras 0, Desiderio 0, Amar 0
Quarterly scores: 21-13, 39-29, 53-47, 74-60