UAAP Basketball

Still alive: NU drags Adamson to rubber match in UAAP boys’ basketball finals

Martin Mendoza

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Still alive: NU drags Adamson to rubber match in UAAP boys’ basketball finals

MVP. NU Bullpups big man Collins Akowe grabs the rebound against the Adamson Baby Falcons in the Game 2 of the UAAP boys basketball finals.


The Nazareth-NU Bullpups rise back from 15 points down in the third quarter to force a winner-take-all showdown against the Adamson Baby Falcons in the UAAP Season 86 boys’ basketball finals

MANILA, Philippines – With their backs against the wall, the Nazareth-NU Bullpups showed why they are the winningest team in the UAAP boys’ basketball tournament in the last decade. 

After trailing by as many as 15 points in the third quarter, the Bullpups rallied back and completed a thrilling 67-64 come-from-behind Game 2 escape over the Adamson Baby Falcons on Wednesday, February 7, to force a winner-take-all showdown in their best-of-three Season 86 finals series. 

Nigerian big man Collins Akowe, who was named the Most Valuable Player prior to the start of the match, proved why he is deserving of the top individual award as he led the Bullpups with a monster stat line of 16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks.

Before getting ejected midway through the fourth quarter due to two technical fouls, Klein Tagotongan also rose to the occasion for the Bullpups as he dropped 16 points on a perfect 6-of-6 field goal clip.

With Adamson threatening to pull away with a 48-33 cushion early in the third period, Tagotongan came alive and unloaded 11 of his 16 points to help Nazareth-NU turn the 15-point deficit into a slim 54-53 lead heading into the final frame. 

It was a back-and-forth battle between both teams all throughout the fourth quarter and with Nazareth-NU leading by just 3 points, 67-64, after Tom Pillado split his free throws, Adamson had a golden opportunity to send the game into overtime with still 8.7 seconds left on the clock.

Unfortunately for the Baby Falcons, Mark Esperanza’s potential game-tying triple from the right corner failed to hit the mark at the buzzer.

Nazareth-NU spoiled the high-scoring performance of Adamson’s Earl Medina, who erupted for a game-high 23 points on an ultra-efficient 9-of-11 clip from the field.

Mythical Five member Tebol Garcia backstopped Medina in the sorry loss with all-around numbers of 13 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, and 6 steals as the Baby Falcons fell short of a series sweep after taking Game 1 with a a 77-71 victory. 

Nazareth-NU shoots for its fifth title since Season 76, while Adamson guns for its first crown in 31 years when both teams collide one last time on Sunday, February 11, still at the FilOil EcoOil Centre at 4 pm.

The Scores

Nazareth-NU 67 – Akowe 16, Tagotongan 16, Alfanta 8, Yusi 8, Solomon 7, Pillado 5, Barraca 3, Cartel 2, Napacena 2, Palanca 0, Usop 0, Reroma 0.

Adamson 64 – Medina 23, Garcia 13, Esperanza 9, Reyes 7, Perez 5, Carillo 3, Bonzalida 2, Tumaneng 2, Umali 0, Abayon 0, Sajili 0, De Jesus 0. 

Quarters: 14-17, 32-38, 54-53, 67-64. 

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