Sunday, 16 September 2012 118 Comments
The Bulldogs, led by sophomore Bobby Ray Parks, are sitting at No. 4 with an 8-5 win-loss record while the UP Fighting Maroons finished the season with a frustrating 1-13 record – its 5th rock bottom elimination round finish in the last 6 seasons.
Parks had 17 points, mostly in 2nd half while Emmanuel Mba added 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs, who can clinch the No. 4 spot with a win against FEU on September 23 and a split by La Salle on its last two assignments.
“We have to focus on FEU. We really have to win that for have a better chance of making it,” said Parks.
“We lost our focus and discipline in the second half and gave up UP the chance to come back,” said NU Bulldogs head coach Eric Altamirano, who ironically was a member of the last Fighting Maroons squad that won the UAAP crown in 1986.
“Knowing UP, we have high respect on them. They never give up no matter what. You can’t relax on them,” he said.
The Bulldogs were on their way to tear the Fighting Maroons apart after Mbe scored from underneath for a 47-29 lead with 3 minutes left in the third period. NU was leading 51-41 entering the 4th period when UP closed in at 47-51. Raul Soyud’s basket put UP within 57-61 with 2:28 remaining.
But Parks and Mbe came to the rescue to prevent the Fighting Maroons from upsetting the host school. Coach Alamirano said they just have to win their final game against the Tamaraws.
Alvin Padila and Mike Silungan scored 14 and 11 points respectively for UP, whose only win came at the expense of the UE Red Warriors.
Eight members of the UP Fighting Maroons have played their final game this season, namely, Alvin Padilla, Mike Silungan, Mike Gamboa, Mark Lopez and Anjelo Montecastro. They are all graduating students this year.
The last time the Fighting Maroons were in the Final Four was in 1997. They had a forgettable 0-14 win-loss campaign in 2007 and 2010 seasons.
Commissioner Ato Badolato has received the formal protest of UST about their 66-68 loss to Ateneo last September 15.
The Growling Tigers claimed that the referees should have given Blue Eagles head coach a technical foul for vehemently protesting a non-call on Ryan Buenafe in one crucial moment of the game.
UST also questioned the game officials’ goal-tending call on Karim Abdul against Buenafe in the closing seconds. Badolato said he will try to come up with a decision on UST’s protest on September 17.
NU 65 – Parks 17, Mbe 13, Rosario 10, Alolino 8, Javillonar 8, Roño 3, De Guzman 2, Labing-isa 2, Singh 2, Betayene 0, Khobuntin 0, Neypes 0, Villamor 0.
UP 60 – Padilla 14, Silungan 11, Mbah 8, Soyud 8, Ball 7, Lopez 3, Manuel 3, Asilum 2, Gamboa 2, Montecastro 2, Hipolito 0, Wierzba 0.
Quarter Scores: 12-11; 30-21; 51-41; 65-60
By Josef Ramos