UAAP Basketball

Baclaan-led NU staves off late UST rally, bounces back for second win

JR Isaga
Baclaan-led NU staves off late UST rally, bounces back for second win

NU's Kean Baclaan shoots over his former UST team at the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament

UAAP Season 85 Media Team

Former UST top rookie Kean Baclaan shows off against his old team as the NU Bulldogs fight off a late Tigers comeback attempt for their second win

MANILA, Philippines – The NU Bulldogs bounced back in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament as they fended off a late rally by the UST Growling Tigers, 69-63, at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, October 9.

Former top España recruit Kean Baclaan led the Sampaloc-based ballers over his old team with a new seniors career-high of 16 points on 4-of-9 shooting from three, 7 assists, and 4 steals, while veteran gunner John Lloyd Clemente also scored 16 with 3 boards, and 2 swipes.

The Bulldogs looked headed for an easy win after Baclaan buried a long bomb with 8:03 left in the fourth quarter to extend their lead to 18, 62-44.

However, the Tigers woke up from their stupor as they fired back with a massive 19-5 run – holding NU without a field goal for the next seven minutes and capping their spurt with a pull-up Nic Cabañero triple with just 10.2 ticks left to get within 4, 63-67.

But UST’s rally came just too late as two clutch Clemente free throws at the 7.6-second mark stopped the run dead on its tracks and set the final score.

“We relaxed a bit, but that’s what we need to address. Addressing maturity is difficult. We had a commanding lead and the boys had a tendency to relax,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa in Filipino.

“We need to address that because we have a difficult opponent [in UP] on Wednesday.”

Senegalese big man Adama Faye paced the Tigers’ second straight loss with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double plus 4 assists and 2 blocks, while super sophomore Cabañero tallied 16 points and 12 boards in 34 minutes.

As Napa mentioned, the Bulldogs are set to tussle with the undefeated defending champion Maroons on Wednesday, October 12, 1 pm. Meanwhile, the 1-2 Tigers are looking to snap their early skid that same day with a huge upset against the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the 11 am matinee match.

The Scores

NU 69 – Baclaan 16, Clemente 16, Omar 8, Malonzo 8, Figueroa 7, Padrones 4, Yu 3, Minerva 3, Mahinay 2, Manansala 2, Palacielo 0, Galinato 0, Tibayan 0.

UST 63 – Faye 20, Cabañero 16, Pangilinan 9, Garing 8, Manaytay 3, Calimag 3, Laure 2, Lazarte 2, Mantua 0, Duremdes 0, Herrera 0.

Quarters: 16-14, 35-23, 57-42, 69-63.

– Rappler.com

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