By Jerome Lagunzad
Defensive ace Ron Dennison is embracing his new role as one of Far Eastern University’s offensive options.
The 6-foot Dennison took up the offensive cudgels in the stretch as the Tamaraws fended off University of the East’s late fightback, 90-83, yesterday to get its UAAP Season 80 basketball title campaign going at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Dennison, on his fifth and final year, continued his offensive resurgence as he tallied a team-high 16 points, including six straight inside the last four minutes that enabled FEU to keep a late-charging UE side at bay.
The win served as a soothing balm following a 95-90 loss inflicted by defending champion La Salle last Sunday.
“Mas kilala si Ron on the defensive end, but I think for his growth as a player, okay rin that he’s developing his offense,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela of Dennison’s timely explosion that came on the heels of his 21-point outburst in their loss to La Salle.
Dennison, however, admitted he’s not clearly looking for his shots.
“Sa akin lang, gusto ko lang maging consistent ang laro ko. Gusto ko lang ma-lead ‘yung team from defense to offense. Hindi ko rin naman hinahanap ang pag-score. Kusa naman darating ‘yun,” he said.
Also coming up big for the Tamaraws was 6-foot-9 Cameroonian Prince Orizu, who pumped in 15 points and 16 rebounds while setting the tone for their early onslaught that helped them build a 19-point lead.
Back-up Clark Derige sizzled with 22 points for UE which tried a comeback in the final canto but came up short, leading to the Warriors’ second straight loss following a 86-69 setback to National University over the weekend.
In women’s play, veteran center Katrina Guytingco made an inside bucket in the crunch as Ateneo dodged the bullet against University of the Philippines, 52-51, to seize solo lead.
Cara Buendia came off the bench with a near double-double performance of 10 points and eight rebounds. But it was Guytingco who saved the day for the Lady Eagles, leading to their second straight victory.