NU bounces back, extends Adamson's woes

By Camille B. Naredo,

Posted at Aug 20 2014 04:09 PM | Updated as of Aug 21 2014 12:19 AM

NU's Glenn Khobuntin (R) drives to the basket against Adamson's William Polican (L). Photo by Mark Cristino for

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE 1) The National University (NU) Bulldogs used a huge second quarter to rout the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 71-50, and snap a two-game losing streak in the UAAP Season 77 men's basketball tournament Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

NU broke the game open in the second quarter, when they held Adamson to only two points -- the lowest output of a UAAP team in a quarter since 2003. At one stretch, NU also scored 22 unanswered points.

"I think very pivotal talaga 'yung second quarter," said NU head coach Eric Altamirano. "Our second unit stepped up because low ang energy ng first unit namin."

"The second unit came in, and they provided the spark," he added.

The huge victory allowed the Bulldogs to bounce back after back-to-back losses to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, while at the same time sending Adamson to their ninth consecutive loss of the season.

NU now has a 6-3 win-loss record to stay in the thick of the hunt for a spot in the Final Four.

The Falcons actually had a promising start, using an active defense to force the Bulldogs to turnovers and hitting their perimeter shots. They led 14-10 following a Don Trollano lay-up, but it proved to be the last time that Adamson will hold the lead.

A Glenn Khobuntin basket touched off a blazing 22-0 run by the Bulldogs, which included back-to-back three-pointers by guard Paolo Javelona. It ended up being a 32-2 run starting from the first period, with Adamson's only two points coming off a Jansen Rios jumper with four minutes to go in the second.

NU infamously held Adamson to only 25 points in their encounter in the first round. This time, the Falcons managed to score 14 points in the opening quarter, but fell apart in the second period.

When the smoke cleared, the Bulldogs had taken a commanding 42-16 halftime lead to squash the Falcons' hopes of notching their first victory of the season.

NU point guard Gelo Alolino finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five assists for a solid all-around performance, while Khobuntin added 12 points. The Bulldogs, as a team, out-rebounded the Falcons 65-32, the biggest rebounding margin in a UAAP game since 2003.

NU led by as much as 31 points multiple times in the third period, with players like Khobuntin, JJ Alejandro and Henri Betayene contributing to the scoring.

Trailing 28-59 entering the final quarter, the Falcons briefly made things interesting when they unleashed a 12-1 run to start the fourth period to cut the deficit to 20 points, 40-60. Christian Garcia sparked the run with a three-pointer, and point guard Axel Inigo capped it with a fastbreak lay-up.

NU's lead was too big, however, and inside points from Khobuntin and reserve Tristan Perez allowed the Bulldogs to maintain a comfortable advantage throughout the final quarter despite the best efforts of Trollano to rally the Falcons.

Trollano finished the game with 15 points and eight rebounds, while Rios added 10 points and eight boards. But the Falcons shot a paltry 24.32% from the field, and even 26 points off 27 turnovers by the Bulldogs were simply not enough after their poor performance in the second quarter.

Adamson is now officially eliminated from Final Four contention this season.

The scores:

NU 71 - Alolino 14, Khobuntin 12, Aroga 7, Rosario 6, Betayene 6, Javelona 6, Celda 6, Diputado 5, Alejandro 3, Neypes 3, Perez 2, Salim 1, Atangan 0, Cauilan 0, Tansingco 0.

ADU 50 - Trollano 15, Rios 10, Inigo 7, Nalos 7, Garcia 6, Aquino 3, Ochea 2, Polican 0, Donahue 0, Gumtang 0, Villanueva 0, Monteclaro 0, Butron 0, Pedrosa 0, Baytan 0.

Quarter-scoring: 18-14, 42-16, 59-28, 71-50