NATIONAL University won its first game without star player Bobby Ray Parks, beating University of Santo Tomas, 59-40, on Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Gelo Alolino had 13 points while Troy Rosario added nine points in a low-scoring affair. Rookie Rev Diputado and Alfred Aroga added eight markers for the Bulldogs in a balanced scoring attack.
Both teams suffered key losses in their personnel with NU missing Parks and UST now without Jeric Teng and head coach Pido Jarencio.
But it was the Bulldogs who seemed to have adjusted better as they got a measure of revenge after they lost to the Tigers twice in the semifinal round last year.
“We’ve moved on,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano. “The players understand na wala na si Ray. So it must be a collective effort and do your share.”
The Tigers shot the ball so poorly in their first game under coach Bong Dela Cruz that only Aljon Mariano's basket with 5.6 seconds left in the game saved UST from setting the lowest scoring output in a game in the league's modern era.
The previous low of 39, ironically, was set by NU in 2011.
Still, the 40-point output was the lowest total point production by any team in a game since La Salle lost to NU (56-40) on September 8, 2011.
The Bulldogs turned a close game into a blowout, outscoring the Tigers, 22-10, in the third period. NU never looked back as UST seemed to struggle to find their rhythm in the game.
NU (59) – Alolino 13, Rosario 9, Aroga 8, Diputado 8, Khobuntin 6, Alejandro 5, Neypes 4, Celda 2, Perez 2, Javelona 1, Salim 1, Yu 0, Tansingco 0, Betayene 0, Cauilan 0.
UST (40) – Abdul 11, Mariano 10, Sheriff 7, Ferrer 5, Subido 3, Lo 2, Daquioag 2, Vigil 0, Lao 0, Gayosa 0.
Quarterscores: 14-9, 25-21, 47-31, 59-40.