UAAP Basketball

New UAAP HS hoops kings’ coronation in store as Adamson, NU seal finals war

JR Isaga

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New UAAP HS hoops kings’ coronation in store as Adamson, NU seal finals war

STRENGTH OF THE PACK. Nazareth-NU center Collins Akowe (right) hugs guard Alnhumaeri Usop in the UAAP Season 86 boys' basketball Final Four

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Top two UAAP boys' basketball teams Adamson and Nazareth-NU prove worthy of their lofty standing, respectively ousting UST and ex-champion FEU-Diliman to arrange a best-of-three finals

MANILA, Philippines – There will be a new champion at the conclusion of the UAAP Season 86 boys’ basketball tournament as the mighty Nazareth-NU Bullpups dethroned the FEU-Diliman Baby Tamaraws in dominating fashion, 80-69, on Wednesday, January 31.

Presumptive MVP Collins Akowe showed why he is first in line for the top individual honors, carrying a rather lackluster offense with a huge 24-point, 14-rebound double-double on 8-of-13 shooting and 8-of-14 free throws.

With usual leader Mac-Mac Alfanta going cold with 9 points – all off free throws – on 0-of-8 shooting in 29 minutes, reserves stepped up in his stead with Klein Tagotongan scoring 12 in just 16 minutes, while Alnhumaeri Usop made the most of just a 7-minute leash with 10 points.

It was a revenge act of sorts for the mighty Nazareth program, as it was FEU-Diliman that ended the Bullpups’ streak of 10 consecutive finals appearances last season.

“We’re not thinking of this finals appearance because our goal is not yet done,” NU head coach Kevin de Castro said in Filipino.

“Our main goal is to get to the end. Let’s see if the next two games favor us.”

Veejay Pre paced the former champions in the losing cause with 23 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists, while Dwyne Miranda tried to make up for his woeful 6-point, 2-of-16 shooting outing with 10 dimes and 8 boards.

Meanwhile, the surging Adamson Baby Falcons booked a return trip to the finals, albeit with a new opponent, after trouncing the UST Tiger Cubs, 80-66, in the first game of the double-header.

Against the lone team that stained what should have been a perfect 14-0 romp and a guaranteed finals bid, Vince Reyes showed no mercy from start to finish, as he cruised to a 23-point, 11-rebound double-double on a perfect 8-of-8 clip from the field.

Mark Esperanza (12 points), Justine Garcia (11 points), and Earl Medina (11 points) then showed why Adamson’s depth is the main cause of concern for opposing teams with balanced scoring efforts.

Wacky Ludovice and Andrei Dungo led the losing side with 19 and 17 points, respectively.

Game 1 of the best-of-three finals will be on Sunday, February 3, 4 pm, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

The Scores

First Game

Adamson 80 – Reyes 23, Esperanza 12, Garcia 11, Medina 11, Bonzalida 6, Abayon 5, Carillo 4, Tumaneng 4, Umali 2, De Jesus 2, Sajili 0.

UST 66 – Ludovice 19, Dungo 17, Buenaflor 8, Ronquillo 7, Manding 6, Bucsit 6, Esteban 3, Lim 0, Verzosa 0, Reyes 0, Velasquez 0, Loreto 0.

Quarters: 23-17, 37-27, 61-50, 80-66.

Second Game

Nazareth-NU 80 – Akowe 24, Tagotongan 12, Usop 10, Alfanta 9, Yusi 7, Nepacena 6, Reroma 4, Palanca 4, Cartel 2, Solomon 2, Barraca 0.

FEU-Diliman 69 – Pre 23, Cabonilas 13, Daa 11, Miller 7, Miranda 6, Burgos 6, De Guzman 2, Godoy 1, Salangsang 0, Herbito 0, Cabigting 0.

Quarters: 26-16, 47-40, 61-52, 80-69.

– Rappler.com

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