ROBIN RONO buried the pivotal three-pointers in the fourth quarter, carrying National University to a 75-61 victory over University of Santo Tomas for its fourth consecutive victory in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rono, usually a defensive player for NU, shot the lights out late in the game, scoring 12 of his 19 points in the final period —all on triples — to give the Bulldogs a sizeable gap over the struggling Tigers en route to their seventh win in 10 outings.
The Bulldogs’ big win also enabled them to close the gap behind leaders Far Eastern University (7-2).
Rono hit five of his six triples in the game as NU won despite star guard Bobby Ray Parks not scoring a single point in the fourth, and NU coach Eric Altamirano gave credit to his bench.
“It was a collective effort,” said Altamirano. “One of the key factors was the bench led by Rono. He is one of our stoppers but he provided us with three point shots."
Denice Villamor had 18 points, nine rebounds, and four assists, while Parks had 10 points for the Bulldogs.
It was another frustrating setback for the Tigers, who fell to their third straight loss for a 4-5 slate.
Santo Tomas could not contain NU’s onslaught that included a 7-0 blast after the Tigers came to within three points, 60-57.
The Tigers could only make two field goals with Ed Daquioag missing five free throws in that stretch where the Bulldogs went 15-4 to close out the game.
Jeric Teng played for the Tigers after a four-game absence from a shoulder injury. However, he was taken out when he hurt his right hamstring in the second quarter and never returned.
NU (75) – Rono 19, Villamor 18, Parks 10, Alolino 10, Khobuntin 9, Mbe 4, Javillonar 3, Perez 2, Rosario 0, Porter 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0, Javelona 0, Alejandro 0.
UST (61) – Abdul 18, Ferrer 11, Mariano 9, Daquioag 9, Lo 5, Bautista 5, Teng 2, Sheriff 2, Tan 0, Pe 0, Lao 0.
Quarterscores: 17-14; 36-33; 56-44; 75-61.