The NU Bulldogs finally barged into the win column of the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament after a dominant 61-39 beatdown of the FEU Tamaraws Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Coming off five heartbreaking losses to open their campaign, the Bulldogs found their groove early and stayed aggressive the rest of the way to grab their first victory. The Tamaraws, on the other hand, absorbed their second straight loss and dropped to a 2-4 record.
Dave Ildefonso topped with 20 points and eight rebounds. Migs Oczon and Shaun Ildefonso combined for 17 points and 13 boards.
NU coach Jamike Jarin brought the entire team to the post-game conference to make sure that the spotlight shines on the players and to highlight their unity despite the multiple losses.
"The reason why I brought all these young men here is because we win together, we lose together," said Jarin. "That's our mantra -- no one should be left behind."
The Bulldogs opened the contest with a commanding 14-6 lead to set the tone. FEU could not buy a bucket as NU handily stretched their advantage to 29 points in the third quarter.
With Barkley Eboña refusing to give up, the Tamaraws managed to come within 18, 49-31, in the fourth. But JV Gallego immediately converted a 3, followed by a layup from Enzo Joson, to continue to take the game out of reach.
"I think we had a different hunger coming into this game," said Shaun Ildefonso. "I told them, 'We're 0-5, let's get that win.' I told them this morning that we should have a different drive for this game. Good thing we succeeded on defense. We had a few lapses on offense but it all went for us in the end."
Eboña was the lone bright spot for FEU, delivering 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 12 rebounds. The rest of the team only scored 22 points on a woeful 8-of-68 (11 percent) clip.
NU 61 -- D. Ildefonso 20, Oczon 9, S. Ildefonso 8, Gaye 7, Clemente 6, Gallego 3, Joson 3, Yu 3, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Malonzo 0, Mangayao 0, Minerva 0, Rangel 0, Tibayan 0.
FEU 39 -- Ebona 17, Stockton 7, Nunag 5, Gonzales 4, Bienes 2, Comboy 2, Tempra 2, Alforque 0, Bayquin 0, Cani 0, Celzo 0, Mantua 0, Tchuente 0, Torres 0, Tuffin 0.
Quarters: 14-6, 37-13, 47-24, 61-39.
- The Tamaraws had a 23-13 edge in offensive rebounds but they only converted 12 second-chance points.
- According to league statistician Pong Ducanes, NU held FEU to its lowest scoring output since Imperium Stats handled the stats in 2003.
FEU - September 28 (Saturday) vs Adamson at the Mall of Asia Arena
NU - September 29 (Sunday) vs UE at the Smart Araneta Coliseum