Bulldogs subdue Growling Tigers
THE National University Bulldogs gave retired player Danny Ildefonso a rousing welcome as a coach.
Temporarily taking over from suspended mentor Jamike Jarin, Ildefonso came up with great tips on how to win a close fight with University Growling Tigers yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.
Six-foot-nine Ghana slotman Issa Gaye took charge underneath in the third period and from there the Bulldogs turned back the Growling Tigers, 91-83, in their featured match in the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament.
“Wala pa naman akong experience sa coaching. I just prayed to God. Sabi ko sa kanya, ikaw na ang bahala sa akin. Ayun. Binigyan niya ako ng wisdom,” said Ildefonso.
The Bulldogs have so far bounced back from two straight losses, and have improved to fifth place with their 4-6 win-loss record.
The Growling Tigers stunned the Bulldogs by overtaking them, 52-49, off baskets from Marvin Lee and Jordan Sta. Ana.
Gaye, who had 22 points and six rebounds, and teammate Matt Salem, provided answers to Ildefonso’s prayers afterwards.
Salem strung up two triples in the last 6:02, touching off a 14-4 blast.
Then, Gaye struck hard thrice underneath. When the Bulldogs were done with their run, NU took control with their 62-56 edge in the last 2:38.
Gaye went on to score 10 points in the third period, while Salem, who also had 22 points, drove in with 34.8 seconds to give NU one of its biggest lead, 69-58.
Salem scored on another trey and combined with Dave Yu in efforts that allowed NU to widen their lead to 14, 77-63, in the remaining 7:53.
“Sabi ko sa kanila ayusin natin ang rebounding. Talo tayo sa rebounding. Kailangan ito para tayo makatakbo at maka-execute ng offense,” said Ildefonso, who used to play for the Bulldogs.
Jarin was suspended for one game after blowing his top during NU’s game with the Ateneo Blue Eagles last week.
He watched the game on TV from the comfort of his home.
Steve Akomo led UST with 16 markers. The Growling Tigers, who are winless in 16 games, are out of contention.