By: Raphael Rayco
MANILA – Despite a close first half, the UP Men’s Basketball Team lost steam later in the game today as National University Bulldogs overpowered the team in the court, 59-70, at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons now hold a 0-2 card for the first round of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 77 men’s basketball division.
UP’s starting big men Andrew Harris and Mark Juruena held down NU’s Cameroonian Alfred Aroga and Jeth Rosario to throw in just ten points in the first half.
The two Bulldogs, though, were too much to handle inside the paint exploding a total of 23 markers in the second half.
“They did everything. It’s just a matter of size,” UP Fighting Maroons Head Coach Rey Madrid said. “The double team was there, the box out was there, pero nawa-wipeout pa rin sila e (but they were still wiped out).”
Angelo Alolino tallied a career-high 20 markers and pairs of rebounds, steals and assists leading the Bulldogs. Aroga and Rosario provided him backup scoring 17 and 16 points, respectively.
Dave Moralde, on the other hand, led the Maroons with 15 points while JR Gallarza chipped in 10 points.
Alolino waxed hot from the outside as he scored back-to-back three-point shots, 18-13, but a JR Gallarza trey and Angelo Vito perimeter shot tied the game at 18.
The Maroons remained scoreless in the first three minutes of the the second quarter as Bulldogs’ offense started to click behind Alolino, Rosario and Aroga’s inside scoring.
Living up to the Fighting Maroons moniker, Dave Moralde refused to go down without a fight as he scored consecutive treys trimming the lead just to two, 33-35, going to halftime.
NU provided a strong start in the third quarter as Alolino scored trick plays from the outside, 44-57, and never let go of the lead.
UP rallied a 10-4 run in the final minutes of the game but just couldn’t find the right rhythm to defy the odds in beating the Bulldogs.
Adding to the woes of the Maroons was their low rebounding of 27 as compared to NU’s 51.
Maroons will next face neighbor school Ateneo de Manila University on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
UP – Moralde 15, Gallarza 10, Reyes 8, Lao 8, Dario 6, Gingerich 5, Vito 4, Juruena 2, Asilum 1
NU – Alolino 20, Rosario 17, Aroga 16, Khobuntin 6, Perez 3, Alejandro 2, Neypes 2, Atangan 2, Diputado 2
THE SCORES: 19-18, 33-37, 44-57, 59-70