Wednesday, October 1, 2014
NU Bulldogs beat Ateneo 65-63 to advance to UAAP 77 Finals
National University Bulldogs beat Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles 65-63 in Do-or-Die Game Wednesday afternoon to advance to UAAP Finals after 44 years. NU will compete the winner of FEU vs La Salle match for UAAP 77 Championship crown.
The mad scramble for the last possession of the first quarter provided a good sense of foreshadowing.
The cagers on the floor knew what's at stake. No one's giving an inch to the other. Both teams giving their all because there was no more tomorrow. Finals or bust. Do-or-die.
The National University Bulldogs did it. They are going to the last dance of UAAP 77 after edging Ateneo, 65-63, Wednesday afternoon at a jampacked SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
The last play of the game saw players scrambling for the ball as well. NU escaped with the narrow victory thanks to the defensive effort of Alfred Aroga on Kiefer Ravena's drive.
"We knew where they were going so we were able to stop it. I thank Alfred Aroga and his defense for bailing us out," NU head coach Eric Altamirano said after the game.
Chris Newsome shooting 78% accounted for more than half of his team's output during the first two periods — Ateneo stuggled on a 37% shooting clip.
He ended up with a game-best 22 points but those numbers were not enough for the top-seeded Blue Eagles.
Alfred Aroga had 14 points to pace NU, while Gelo Alolino added 11 including the Finals-sending free throws.
National University is returning to the finals after more than four decades. The Bulldogs had their last crack at the championship back in 1970, while their only title came during the 1954-1955 season.
The tightly-contested semis battle was interrupted after some of the coliseum lights went off.
The Bulldogs were in the middle of a 5-0 run when power went off, 9.3 seconds remaining.
Two freethrows from Gelo Alolino gave the Bulldogs the lead, while Ateneo's last basket came from GBoy Babilonia's split from the line, 2:22 left. -- Sports Desk Online