Photo by Arvin Lim, ABS-CBN Sports
The National University Bulldogs are 0-2 to start Season 78. It might be early in the tournament but the two losses are already huge.
Let’s take try to break down NU’s woes:
Gelo Alolino is the only reliable scorer and is currently hitting 46% of his shots.
JJ Alejandro who was such a late threat against La Salle only played 10 minutes against UE and didn’t score at all. Rev Diputado is averaging 6.5 points per outing while Paolo Javelona scored 16 points versus the Red Warriors to hike his two game average to 10.0 per game.
NU seems fine scoring-wise for their guards but here is the concern — they are scoring guards and not playmakers per se.
Vs DLSU (Alolino, Javelona, Diputado, and Celda assist total): 4 assists
Vs UE (Alolino, Javelona, Diputado, and Celda assist total): 6 assists
How did their opposite numbers do?
DLSU (Torres, Go, Caracut — he sometimes is asked to play the point): 7 assists
UE (Charcos, Manalang, Yu): 4 assists Renz Palma plays a point forward position for the Red Warriors
Having said that about the Bulldogs’ guards, their frontline scoring is a concern. They need to get their forwards in the game.
Abatayo, Rangel, and Tansingco = 0
Vs DLSU 25 minutes: 9 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 TO, 1 block, 5 fouls
Vs UE 29 minutes: 8 points, 16 rebounds, 2 assists, 8 TOs, 2 blocks, 2 fouls
Double and triple-teaming schemes have limited Alfred Aroga’s effectiveness to the point that he isn’t the player he is from last season. At a crucial point during the match versus UE, he wasn’t even on the floor. If Aroga plays better, it will open up shots and opportunities for teammates.
In their two matches, NU outrebounded two opponents.
Vs DLSU 47-42 (including 26 defensive rebounds to DLSU’s 32)
Vs UE 41-34 (including 31 defensive rebounds to UE’s 19)
Plus, they had more free throws in each game:
Vs DLSU: 23-22 (attempts)
Vs UE: 24-19 (attempts)
Since NU has dominated the rebounds department, one question that should be asked is, can they run?
Vs DLSU 6 FB attempts = 6 points out of possible 12 points
Vs UE 11 FBs attempts = 17 points out of possible 22 points
Sure they can. This is something they might want to consider more. The problem really is that wing attack where no one has yet approximated Troy Rosario or Glenn Khobuntin.
UE outshot NU: they had 70 field goal attempts to the Bulldogs’ 52.
NU had a 50% FG accuracy. Where have you seen a team hit at that clip yet lose?
Turnovers. NU had 31 although UE only scored 25 points off them (NU scored 24 turnover points of their own)
In their two matches thus far, the Bulldogs have had one quarter where they didn’t score in double figures.
Vs DLSU - first quarter: six points
Vs UE - third quarter; nine points.
NU should take heart that Ateneo is their next opponent. They have owned the Blue Eagles with a 6-0 record the past two years. They look forward to turning their season around with their continued mastery against the UAAP rival. The Blue Eagles team they are facing though has gotten some confidence owing to their win against Adamson. It is going to be quite a battle with lots of repercussions.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.