NATIONAL University put the cuffs on San Sebastian when it mattered to waltz to a 76-61 victory and sustain its promising start in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Bulldogs turned a see-sawing match into a one-sided affair in the payoff period when the UAAP contenders banked on a suffocating full-court defense to grab their second victory in as many games in Group C.
NU also dealt the Stags their third loss in five games.
“We’re still a work in progress…but what I like about our game was we were able to assert ourselves in the fourth quarter,” Bulldogs coach Eric Altamirano said. “It’s a good thing we were able to shut them down.”
Rookie point guard Rev Diputado scored just three points, but the former San Beda Red Cub led a Bulldogs defense that disrupted the Stags’ play and limited them to just eight measly points in the final frame, compared to NU’s 23.
Alfred Aroga registered 16 points and six boards, while skipper Glenn Khobuntin chipped in 13 and was a rebound away from a double-double for the Bulldogs.
Freshman Michael Calisaan fired a team-high 15 points for San Sebastian, which tasted the lead at 53-50, near the end of the third quarter, before the Bulldogs clamped down to establish a double-digit margin that grew to as many as 16 points.
NU (76) – Aroga 16, Khobuntin 13, Celda 12, Rosario 8, Javelona 7, Betayane 7, Diputado 3, Alolino 2, Tansingco 2, Alejandro 2, Yu 2, Perez 2, Salim 0, Neypes 0, Atangan 0
SSC (61) – Calisaan 15, Perez 10, Guinto 9, Camasura 7, Fabian 6, Yong 6, Aquino 4, Costelo 4, Tano 0, Mamaril 0, Santos 0, Vergara 0