LINGAYEN, Pangasinan — Despite losing a hard-fought game during a friendly match against a popular varsity team in Manila, National University (NU) Bulldogs, held at the NU Gym in Manila on September 5, Pangasinan young cagers are inspired that they staged a close match against a former UAAP Champion.
Roxar Melendez of Team Pangasinan, backed up by Mark Kenneth Castillo, Reynald Ballesteros and Mariano Catabay, III, displayed supreme basketball skills to outscore the National University (NU) Bulldogs in the early part of the first quarter.
But the NU varsitarians did not give in, and secured a hard-earned lead of 7 points at the end of the first canto, 23-16.
Sustaining their momentum, the Bulldogs toughened their defense and showed determination to outplay Pangasinan led by Marvin Jophet Mamaril, MVP of the 2nd Inter-town City Basketball Tournament.
However, the Pangasinan sniper Mamaril stole the limelight and nailed consecutive 3-point shots to rally his team 21-23 with 6 minutes and 50 seconds left in the second quarter.
Igniting the clash in the sports arena, Bulldogs stunned the spectators as they fired back with a battery of three-point shots and earned a 9-point lead with 1 minute left in the second quarter. At the end of the second quarter, NU was leading, 51-34.
As third quarter started, Melendez of Pangasinan, backstopped by Castillo, Catabay and Garnet Asuncion, bounced back to reduce the lead by 4 points at the end of the third quarter, 71-67.
Shooting spree from both squads thrilled the spectators in the first minutes of the fourth quarter.
It was a hard-earned victory on the part of the NU team as Pangasinan did not back down, even reducing the lead to only 3 points in the final stretch of the game.
With 5 minutes left, the Bulldogs set up tenacious defense and made two crucial three-point shots from beyond the arch.
The Bulldogs notched their victory with a 5-point lead against their nemesis, 96-91, at the end of the fourth quarter.
Always a contender of the UAAP competitions, NU Bulldogs bagged the Season 77 men’s basketball championship in 2014, crushing the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws.
Governor Amado I. Espino, III, the brainchild of the Inter-town Basketball and the formation of Team Pangasinan, said in earlier media interview that he wanted the basketball players from Pangasinan to hone their skills gain wide exposure to become future varsity players in Manila, and ultimately, as PBA players.
By: Shiella Mae C. De Guzman