Despite jumping out to a 20-10 first quarter, the Adamson Falcons saw the NU Bulldogs slowly reel them back in, before a tip-in and an open trey by Denice Villamor gave the Bulldogs a five-point lead with 23.9 seconds left. The Falcons though got a huge chance for a come from behind win when Ajeet Singh was called for an elbow, giving Alex Nuyles charities, plus possession. Unfortunately, the talented swingman could only spit the freebies, and then turned the ball over on the bonus possession, handing the win to NU, 63-56. Emmanuel Mbe's double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds powered NU to just their second win of the first round, making up for just seven markers by Bobby Ray Parks. Alex Nuyles and Eric Camson combined for 28 points, as the Falcons shooters suffered a 4 for 22 off-night from downtown. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- For the 6-2 Adamson Falcons, revenge must be on their minds. After the loss, La Salle and UP tried to do what NU did, throwing up a 2-3 zone at the Falcons, but Adamson responded by shooting 42.63 percent from long-range in those three games, proving that the drought against NU was more of a fluke than anything else. A win would also put a ton of distance between them and the cluster of 4-4 teams, strengthening their hold on one of the two twice-to-beat advantages.
- The 3-5 NU Bulldogs have a slim chance to break into the final four when the dust settles, but they'll need to win out to get there (though the slumping Archers and Tams are helping them out). The Bulldogs were unable to build on their win against Adamson the first go-around, but dealing another loss to the team that's become a favorite for the Finals will definitely lift their spirits.
ADU Player to Watch : Where Lester Alvarez goes, so goes his team. Alvarez had just six points on 2 of 11 shooting versus NU in round one, and came up empty in the fourth quarter versus DLSU in round two, when the Archers unleashed their huge rally. If NU tries to zone again, Alvarez will be needed to hit triples, otherwise, it will be a repeat of their last encounter.
NU Player to Watch : After a disappointing performance in their first five games, Emmanuel Mbe has tallied three straight double-doubles, averaging 16.67 points and 13 rebounds after seeing a jump in minutes from 26.4 to 31.67. The one precaution though would be that two of those games came against the undersized UE Red Warriors, so we'll still have to see how he performs against the top-tier teams.
Prediction: ADU Falcons