MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs opened their UAAP Season 84 campaign on a winning note as they took down the Adamson Soaring Falcons in a thriller, 71-69, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, March 26.
With NU on top by 2, 71-69, in the final possession of the ball game, Adamson’s Ricky Peromingan missed two crucial free throws, as well as a last second mid-range jumper as the Bulldogs escaped with the opening-day victory.
Rookie guard Janjan Felicilda showed the way for the Bulldogs with a team-high 14 points, to go along with 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals, while Robert Minerva and John Lloyd Clemente added 8 points apiece.
On the other side, Ahmad Hanapi topscored for the Soaring Falcons with a game-high 20 points, while star point guard Jerom Lastimosa finished with 18 points.
The Bulldogs, who already led by as many as 14 points, 48-34, midway through the third period, failed to capitalize on their double-digit advantage as the Soaring Falcons managed to stay afloat, thanks to the efforts of Hanapi and Lastimosa, who scored all of his 18 markers in the second half.
It was a back-and-forth shootout between both teams throughout the final frame, and with the score tied at 67-all with less than 2 minutes left to play, Jake Figueroa and Issa Gaye converted on crucial back-to-back hits for the Bulldogs to stretch their lead to a two-possession game, 71-67.
A layup by Lastimosa with 41.8 seconds remaining cut the deficit back to just 2, 69-71, before Peromingan fell short in sending the game into overtime in the next Adamson play.
The Bulldogs will shoot for back-to-back wins when they face the La Salle Green Archers on Tuesday, March 29, at 4 pm, while the Soaring Falcons aim to bounce back from their opening-day loss when they take on the UE Red Warriors at 10 am, also on Tuesday.
NU 71 – Felicilda 14, Minerva 8, Clemente 8, Figueroa 7, Torres 7 Galinato 6, Gaye 6, Mahinay 6, Malonzo 5, Ildefonso 2, Manansala 2, Joson 0, Yu 0, Enriquez 0, Tibayan 0.
Adamson 69 – Hanapi 20, Lastimosa 18, Sabandal 11, Douanga 11, Zaldivar 3, Manzano 2, Yerro 2, Colonia 1, Magbuhos 1, Peromingan 0, Jaymalin 0, Barasi 0, Erolon 0.
Quarters: 19-13, 38-28, 54-48, 71-69.