Hot-shooting big men power NU to FilOil crown

NU routed DLSU 66-54 to nab the 2012 FilOil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup

MANILA, Philippines — Kyle Neypes. Emmanuel Mbe. Henri Betayene.

All standing above six-foot-five. All draining clutch baskets from faraway the basket.

The trio ignited an early fourth-quarter blast to help National University overcome a gallant stand by De La Salle University, 66-54, en route to the 2012 FilOil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup before an animated Independence Day crowd at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

Holding a precarious 44-41 lead entering the final period, Neypes and Mbe drained back-to-back triples before Betayene pulled up for a long jumper as the Bulldogs pulled away to seal their first-ever FilOil title and the second preseason diadem in the Eric Altamirano era.

“They played for each other,” Altamirano said. “That’s the big difference now.”

Dominant Bulldogs

Tournament Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks got his usual numbers and did his job in closing out the pesky Green Archers, but it was their big men and point guard Gelo Alolino’s contributions that helped the Sampaloc-based squad book the victory.

NU finished the league unbeaten after 11 straight wins.

After an Alolino lay-in gave the Bulldogs a 56-47 advantage, NU weathered a late La Salle run sparked by LA Revilla to take the W in a battle of teams that failed to make the Final Four in Season 74 of the UAAP.

Parks top scored for the Bulldogs with 19 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals even as Mbe had another monster double-double with 13 points and 15 rebounds.

On the other hand, Revilla finished with 14 markers and big man Norbert Torres chipped in with 13 points and five boards.

In the battle for third, dethroned champion Ateneo de Manila University rode on a brilliant outing by Greg Slaughter to tame San Beda College, 66-55, and take the bronze.

The seven-foot giant scored 24 points and pulled down 11 rebounds for the Blue Eagles, who will seek a UAAP five-peat starting July 14.

Jake Pascual and Ola Adeogun had 15 and 10 points, respectively, for the Red Lions. –