Saturday, August 20, 2011

UAAP S74: NU vs UP

History Lesson:
The first encounter between these two teams was a game of runs, with NU getting off early to a 14-1 lead behind Bobby Ray Parks and Glenn Khobuntin. UP then stabilized and flipped the script in the second quarter, as Jett Manuel and Jelo Montecastro turned a 24-15 first quarter deficit into a 43-40 halftime score, thanks to some big shots and transition scores. 19 second quarter points from Parks decided the affair though, as UP could not muster enough offense to answer back, losing 75-66. The reserve M&M (Montecastro and Manuel) combined for 33 points and six assists, but Parks' 30 and 10 off the bench from Emmanuel Mbe was too much to handle for UP. (Recap here)

What's at Stake:
  • At 3-6, NU has an outside shot at forcing a tie for the fourth place if a team like DLSU or UST collapses really fierce. That's really a stretch though, and would require the Bulldogs to win all of their remaining assignments, while hoping one of the remaining 4-4 teams loses all of their games.
  • UP is out of the running for a Final Four spot at 2-7, but they have plenty to be happy about especially in the light of last year's winless season. That essentially gives them no pressure in these last few games, which the coaching staff can also use for evaluation purposes, giving out minutes to some of the less-used players.

NU Stat to Watch : In NU's three wins this season, the common thread was the Bulldogs' perimeter defense, sort of. Versus UP and Adamson in the first round and UE in the second, NU allowed them to make an average of 22.67 triples, but surrendered just 3.33 makes, or 14.69 percent from downtown.
NU Player to Watch : Emmanuel Mbe's had double-digit rebounding for the past four games, accounting for nearly a third of NU's rebounds in that period. Against UP though in the first round, Mbe was held to just three rebounds in a 15 minute period, while his counterpart on the other side, Alinko Mbah, dominated the paint with 13 rebounds and two blocks. Mbe will likely want to bounce back against him, not just defensively, but on offense as well after his 3 for 13 game against the Falcons.

UP Stat to Watch : The Maroons like to do things the hard way instead of the easy way, and by that I mean they're the team that attempts the most three-pointers at 22.22 a game, and conversely, makes the fewest free throws at just 9.11 a game. That reliance on low-percentage shots takes its toll on the UP offense, as they're second to the last in points scored, norming just 61.44 a game.
UP Player to Watch : Mike Silungan continues to be a flawed player, putting out good averages, 12.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.3 blocks, but his shooting percentages are horrible, 33.85 percent from the field, 17.65 percent from beyond the arc, and just 34.62 percent from the free throw line! And despite the blocks, he can't really guard anyone, meaning the Maroons will need to put someone like Miggy Maniego on Parks to slow him down. 

Prediction: NU Bulldogs

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