IN NUMBERS: NU VS UP – UAAP Season 81
MANILA, Philippines – When two teams that can't afford to lose meet up to battle, people can bet that emotions will definitely run high.
And NU vs UP is exactly that.
Coming in with a 3-7 win-loss record, the National U Bulldogs need to sweep their remaining games to even have a chance to crack the UAAP Season 81 Final Four. And dealing the UP Maroons another loss will definitely help their cause.
Of course, the Maroons (5-6) don't want that predicament for themselves, as they still remain in a logjam with FEU (5-6) and UST (5-5).
So expect both the Bulldogs and the Maroons to go all out as they vie for a crucial win in the must-see 4 pm match on Saturday, November 3, at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.
Moving to a sixth man role seems to have worked wonders for UP’s super sophomore Juan Gomez de Liaño.
After recording the UAAP’s first triple-double in 12 years against UE, Gomez de Liaño came one assist shy of nailing the milestone back-to-back in a win against FEU.
In his first two games off the bench, he averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 10.5 assists. Safe to say, coming in the second unit has not been an issue for the budding superstar.
While Dave Ildefonso has yet to achieve such feats, the NU sensation has also provided steady leadership and all-around production for the Bulldogs – all in his rookie season.
Already, his 14.8 points and 2.5 assists per game averages are the top numbers for his team. His 5.3 rebounds a night is nothing to scoff at too, coming in at third-best behind his big bro Shaun and big man Issa Gaye.
The Final Four is a long shot, but Ildefonso is no stranger to taking one.
Overall, fans can expect a clash of styles when these two teams meet.
UP currently has the second-fastest pace at 78.80 while NU is the second-slowest at 76.37. Strangely enough, the Bulldogs are second in fastbreak points with 12.5 a game while UP is expectedly first at 13.5.
UP also loves to share the rock, as they currently average a league-best 19.2 assists per game – 3.6 dishes above second-placer Adamson. NU, meanwhile, is just sixth at 13.9 a night.
If NU can’t beat UP in speed nor passing, they should just hack anyone on the team and let them shoot free throws. With a combined 58.9% shooting from the line, UP is dead last on free throw efficiency, almost 4% below seventh-running FEU.
The Maroons also allow the second-most points from their opponents, coming in at 78.5 points per game. However, it remains to be seen if the Bulldogs can capitalize on that weak defense, seeing as how they’re only sixth in field goal percentage (38%) and seventh in three-point field goal percentage (25.4%).
Whatever the case may be, both teams can expect only the very best efforts from each other. There are just no wins left to waste at this point. – Rappler.com