Hot-starting NU Bulldogs overpower Ateneo Blue Eagles to gain share of third
Alfred Aroga and the NU Bulldogs led by 18 in the first quarter and the Ateneo Blue Eagles never recovered. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL University started with guns blazing and never wavered, coming away with a 76-66 win over Ateneo on Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Bulldogs was hot on both ends and put up a 22-4 lead in the first quarter to run away with the sweep of the Blue Eagles in the season series.

NU climbed to a share of second place with Ateneo with a 7-3 win-loss record, behind co-leaders La Salle and Far Eastern University at 7-2.

“It helped us a lot,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano, referring to the Bulldogs’ hot start. “We had a great offensive game which is not normal for us because we thrive on defense. The offense gave us the

Alfred Aroga came up with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and a season-high eight blocks, seven coming in the first half, for the Bulldogs.

NU also forced Kiefer Ravena to only 7-of-21 from the field for 18 points.

Troy Rosario had six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter to help stop an Ateneo run and also grabbed 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs.

Gelo Alolino had 13 points, Nico Javelona 12, and Glenn Khobuntin 11 in a balanced scoring attack.

The Blue Eagles fought back, with Fonzo Gotladera scoring eight straight points to open the fourth quarter, 55-60.

But the Bulldogs answered with a 9-0 run — four from Rosario, giving them a safe 69-55 lead.

Chris Newsome had 12 points while Gotladera finished with 11 for the Blue Eagles.

The scores:
NU (76) – Aroga 15, Rosario 14, Alolino 13, Javelona 12, Khobuntin 11, Diputado 6, Alejandro 3, Neypes 2, Betayene 0, Atangan 0.

Ateneo (66) – K. Ravena 18, Newsome 12, Gotladera 11, Pessumal 8, Elorde 7, Capacio 4, Babilonia 4, Doliguez 2, T. Ravena 0, V. Tolentino 0, A. Tolentino 0, Porter 0.

Quarterscores: 24-14; 42-30; 60-47; 76-66.

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