|National University's Bobby Ray Parks soars for a slam dunk in their UAAP Season 75 second round match-up against the De La Salle Green Archers Sunday at the MOA Arena. Parks scored 32 points and the Bulldogs beat the Archers, 72-62. Photo by Mark Cristino for ABS-CBNnews.com
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATED) There was no need for an extra period this time around as the National University (NU) Bulldogs outplayed the De La Salle Green Archers, 72-62, in their second round match-up of the UAAP Season 75 basketball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Their first round meeting, a double-overtime epic, went La Salle's way, 87-86, but reigning Most Valuable Player (MVP) Bobby Ray Parks made sure the Bulldogs would get their revenge in the second round.
Parks scored 32 points – the sixth time in his UAAP career that he has scored 30 points or more – to go on top of eight rebounds and three assists.
With this victory, the Bulldogs boosted their chances of making it to the Final Four as their record improved to 7-4. They overtook La Salle (7-5) for solo fourth place in the league standings; the Archers are half-a-game behind at fifth.
"We knew coming into the game how important it is," said NU coach Eric Altamirano. "Kaya lahat kami mentally and physically prepared for this game."
The Bulldogs received some good news entering the game as their second round loss to the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws last September 2 was nullified and a replay of the contest was ordered by the UAAP board.
Had the Bulldogs' loss stood, they would have gone up against La Salle with a 6-5 record and would have been put in a must-win situation.
"We were very happy about the decision," Altamirano said. "We used that good favor to inspire us for this game... We wanted to take advantage of the chance."
After a tight opening quarter that saw the teams tied at 15, the Bulldogs started pulling away in the second period when their 2-3 zone held La Salle to only 11 points, while they scored 21.
With Emmanuel Mbe in foul trouble, it was Henri Betayene who anchored the NU defense, while Mark de Guzman provided a spark off the bench. The Bulldogs took a 36-26 lead going into halftime.
The third period was the Bobby Ray Parks show as the reigning MVP exploded for 17 points, shrugging off the different defenders that La Salle threw at him to score on a variety of ways.
"Coach E devised some schemes that would get me some easy shots," said Parks, who also credited his teammates for creating scoring opportunities for him.
The Archers mounted a final comeback in the fourth quarter, but Parks twice hit jumpers at the end of the shot clock to answer every La Salle run.
La Salle's super rookie Jeron Teng, who scored 35 points in their first round meeting, had a quiet 20-point effort this time around. Almond Vosotros came off the bench to fire 13, while LA Revilla suited up and scored two points after limited minutes.
The Bulldogs’ Final Four chances, which looked bleak in the past few weeks, now got a big boost going into their crucial match-up against the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles on Thursday.
"We want to treat it one game at a time. We know how important our remaining games are," said Altamirano.
The Bulldogs will then play the UP Fighting Maroons, and on September 23, will face the FEU Tamaraws for the replay of their controversial contest.
Meanwhile, the Archers will still have a chance of making the Final Four, but they will have to sweep their final two games against the Tamaraws and the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
NU 72 - Parks 32, Alolino 11, Rosario 6, Khobuntin 6, De Guzman 6, Mbe 4, Javillonar 4, Villamor 3, Singh 0, Rono 0, Betayene 0
DLSU 62 - Teng 20, Vosotros 13, Van Opstal 7, N. Torres 6, Mendoza 4, T. Torres 3, Manguera 3, Andrada 2, Tampus 2, Revilla 2, Webb 0
Quarter scoring: 15-15, 36-26, 56-45, 72-62