MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs bounced back after a surprisingly close loss to Ateneo with an emphatic 82-51 rout of the UST Growling Tigers in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, April 7.
With the win, the Jeff Napa-coached team evened up their record at 3-3, while the young Tigers slid to a 2-4 slate.
Reyland Torres led the balanced attack with 12 points, 10 coming in the first half alone, in just under 11 minutes off the bench.
Former UAAP juniors rookie MVP Jake Figueroa scored 11 with 7 rebounds, 2 blocks, and 1 steal, while captain Shaun Ildefonso powered through with 10 points and 6 boards.
Just as things were looking good for UST following a small four-point halftime deficit, 31-35, NU quickly put things out of reach with a huge 25-9 swing for a 60-40 gap at the end of the third quarter, and never looked back.
Thanks to Ildefonso’s 10-point burst in the third, the Bulldogs’ burial ballooned to a 31-point separation off a Germy Mahinay layup at the 65-second mark to set the final score.
“Big win for us, but we have to move forward. We have a game on Saturday, and we can’t celebrate, because we have to get the job done then,” said Napa in Filipino.
“At least after that Ateneo loss, we bounced back with a statement win that we can carry over to UE. I just woke up our players because our aggressiveness was low.”
Nic Cabañero paced the forgettable loss with 11 points on a frigid 4-of-17 clip, while sniper Sherwin Concepcion went off the mark, scoring just 10 on 2-of-7 shooting from three.
NU will now try to end the Season 84 first round with a winning record in a 10 am matinee match against the winless UE Red Warriors on Saturday, April 9.
Meanwhile, UST will gun for an upset in a Season 82 finals rematch at 4 pm against the Ateneo Blue Eagles dynasty.
NU 82 – Torres 12, Figueroa 11, Ildefonso 10, Joson 9, Yu 7, Clemente 6, Galinato 6, Enriquez 5, Minerva 4, Malonzo 4, Felicilda 2, Gaye 2, Mahinay 2, Flores 2, Manansala 0, Tibayan 0.
UST 51 – Cabanero 11, Concepcion 10, Manalang 8, Fontanilla 5, Garing 4, Herrera 3, Santos 2, Manaytay 2, M. Pangilinan 2, Mantua 2, Samudio 2, Ando 0, Canoy 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Gesalem 0, Yongco 0.
Quarters: 16-13, 35-31, 60-40, 82-51.