MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs overcame a lethargic second quarter effort with a huge second-half comeback to take down the streaking FEU Tamaraws, 71-60, at the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, November 5.
Team captain Patrick Yu led the late barrage with 8 of his 15 points coming in the fourth quarter alone, to go with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and a plus-minus of +21, while Jolo Manansala followed up his breakout game with 12 points, 6 boards, and 2 dimes.
Former UAAP high school MVP Jake Figueroa also tallied a double-double of 10 points and a game-high 13 rebounds to help NU inch closer to a Final Four berth with a 7-3 record.
Down as many as 19 points midway through the second quarter, 17-36, and down 15 late in the third, 37-52, the Bulldogs clamped down on both ends with a massive 20-0 swing to get ahead, 57-52, after a Kean Baclaan layup at the 6:49 mark of the final frame.
Yu then capped the pivotal run at 29-6 with a pull-up three for the 66-58 separation with just 2:17 left in regulation, which FEU ultimately failed to recover from.
John Lloyd Clemente eventually slammed the door shut on the Tamaraws’ hopes with a dagger triple and the famous “night night” taunt with just 36.9 ticks left as NU pushed its lead to a safe distance at 69-60.
“We’re lucky enough to come back from down 19 points. At least the guys didn’t quit in the second half,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa in Filipino. “They worked for it little by little. At least, we were able to come back, and we were able to get momentum. We did it our way.”
Collegiate Press Corps Player of the Week Bryan Sajonia lived up to his billing in the loss and went down swinging with a career-high 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting, while Xyrus Torres only chipped in 10 points on a cold 2-of-10 clip from three.
FEU slid down to a 4-6 slate after its four-game winning streak was snapped and sorely missed the services of lead guard LJay Gonzales, who was a late scratch before the game due to a knee injury.
NU 71 – Yu 15, Manansala 12, Clemente 11, Figueroa 10, Baclaan 7, Palacielo 6, John 2, Malonzo 2, Minerva 2, Padrones 2, Tibayan 2, Enriquez 0, Galinato 0, Mahinay 0.
FEU 60 – Sajonia 27, Torres 10, Sleat 9, Tchuente 8, Tempra 5, Sandagon 1, Alforque 0, Anonuevo 0, Bautista 0, Bagunu 0, Celzo 0.
Quarters: 15-20, 26-38, 48-52, 71-60.