A rout? Try an annihilation.
Unforgiving on the defensive end throughout, National U tore Adamson U into pieces Wednesday night, carving out a wire-to-wire 62-25 victory while seizing the solo lead in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bulldogs immediately went for the kill, scoring the first eight points while grounding the Falcons offensively throughout to post the most dominant victory in the league in recent years and gain their third straight win and fourth overall for a 4-1 mark.
JJ Alejandro tallied a game-high 13 points while two other teammates, Gelo Alolino and Troy Rosario, came up with 10 markers each but it was the Bulldogs’ defense that made the difference and sent the Falcons to their fourth straight setback, tying idle University of the Philippines at the cellar.
The Falcons’ output was the lowest in the league since a Fighting Maroons squad could only come up with just 39 markers in their 24-point drubbing dealt by University of Santo Tomas last Sept. 7, 2013.
An NU squad also had the same 39-point performance in absorbing a 22-point setback against Ateneo last Sept. 3, 2011.
No thanks to NU’s sustained solid defense, Adamson could only make nine of its 57 attempts from the field for a nightmarish 16 percent clip, the worst shooting game since 2003 and lowest since UP recorded just 18.5 percent against Ateneo last August 15, 2013.
Only a basket by Dawn Ochea towards the end of the second period prevented Adamson from setting a new first-half scoring low of nine points. The Falcons’ three points in the first period was also the lowest since NU also hit just three points against Ateneo on August 27, 2009. The record since 2003 is two points set by Ateneo against NU 11 years ago.
With Adamson playing zone defense, NU hit its mark from the outside, scoring the first eight points and 19 out of the 22 markers in the opening canto that paved the way for the merciless romp.
The Bulldogs repeatedly led by as many as 39 points, the last at 59-20 off a Tristan Perez split, as the Falcons failed to get any offensive flow going.
Comebacking Don Trollano, who served his one-game suspension in their close 49-50 setback to back-to-back losing finalist University of Santo Tomas last Saturday, emerged the top scorer for Adamson with seven points on 2-of-10 shooting from the field.
The Main Man: JJ Alejandro set the tone for the Bulldogs romp as he pumped in seven of his game-high 13 points in the opening frame.
Honorable Mentions: Aside from there collective defense, the likes of Gelo Alolino, Troy Rosario and Cameroon center Alfred Aroga gave enough lift on both ends.
Game Turning Point: With the Falcons playing zone defense, the Bulldogs hit their full stride from the perimeter as they scored the first eight points and employed an air-tight suffocating defense throughout.
He Said It:
NU coach Eric Altamirano: Today, they weren’t really shooting well tapos sumabay pa ‘yung defense namin. We just really focused on how we want to play.
NU (62) — Alejandro 13, Alolino 10, Rosario 10, Khobuntin 7, Aroga 6, Cauilan 3, Neypes 3, Yu 3, Diputado 2, Javelona 2, Salim 2, Perez 1, Betayene 0, Atangan 0, Celda 0, Tansingco 0.
Adamson (25) —Trollano 7, Ochea 5, Nalos 4, Monteclaro 3, Aquino 2, Baytan 2, Barrera , Pedrosa 1, Butron 0, Bonahue 0, Garcica 0, Gumtang 0, Inigo 0, Rios 0, Villnanueva 0.
Quarterscores: 19-3; 40-11; 56-17; 62-25.