UAAP juniors: NU once again tops FEU in finals rematch, ADMU pounds UST to go 8-0
MANILA, Philippines - The second round of the UAAP Season 80 Juniors basketball tournament kicked off on Saturday, January 13 with last season’s runner-up National University (NU) Bullpups once again defeating the defending champion Far Eastern University (FEU) Baby Tamaraws in an 86-81 finals rematch thriller.
NU had previously beaten the champs 80-68 in the first round.
The game remained relatively close until the closing moments of the first half, when RJ Abarrientos pulled up for 3 with less than 10 seconds on the game clock to put the champs up 47-40. The now 7-1 Bullpups got it together when it mattered most, scoring 29 points in the final frame compared to FEU’s 16. Thanks to the late heroics of Most Valuable Player candidate Rhayyan Amsali (21 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists) and Terrence Fortea (18 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists, 4-of-7 threes), NU sneaked away with the lead and sealed the game for good off a late and-one from Michael Malonzo.
Season 79 Finals MVP L-Jay Gonzales paced the Baby Tams with 21 points, 5 boards and 5 helpers on 9-of-13 shooting and 2-of-2 from downtown. Bryan Sajonia also did damage in just 15 minutes (15 points, 4-of-5 threes) but the team ultimately failed to clamp down on their late lead.
Following that thriller was another marquee matchup between the undefeated Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eaglets and 3rd-placer University of Santo Tomas (UST) Tiger Cubs. While the Cubs pounced out to an early 18-13 lead after the first quarter, they were slowly overpowered by the ultra-talented Ateneo squad which boasts 3 of the Top 5 MVP candidates, including 7-foot-1 Gilas 2023 prospect Kai Sotto. Ateneo ultimately won by 24, 78-54, to improve to 8-0 for Season 80. UST fell to 5-3, still at 3rd.
Sotto finished with 11 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks off the bench while Dave Ildefonso added a game-high 20 points, 7 boards and 3 assists. SJ Belangel rounded up the MVP-level contributions with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 6 helpers of his own.
Frontrunner MVP candidate CJ Cansino – who expressed his desire to be a part of the 2023 Gilas roster after the loss – chipped in 16 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists but struggled from the field on 6-of-20 shooting. Only Cansino and Vince Dolendo (10 points) scored in double-figures for UST as the Eaglets held the Cubs to 27% shooting as a team.
Coming up third in the 4-game slate was a battle between the De La Salle University-Zobel (DLSZ) Junior Archers and the University of the East (UE) Junior Warriors. DLSZ handily won 93-74 thanks to double 20-point performances from Chris Calimag (22 points, 5 rebounds) and Rogil Carlos (20 points, 4 rebounds). UE actually led 49-48 after one half but DLSZ woke up and held them to just 25 second half points. The Archers had 23 markers in the third quarter alone, with 22 more in the fourth for good measure.
Bolstering the Warriors’ ranks was Shane Dichoso, who had 20 points on 6-of-6 shooting from downtown after one half. He only scored two more in the second half as his teammate Agem Miranda overtook him by contributing 24 points of his own in the losing effort. UE remains winless at 0-8.
The Adamson University (AdU) Baby Falcons blew out the University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) Fighting Maroons, 76-58. The brotherly duo of Andrey and Adam Doria combined for 29 points and 14 rebounds in the Falcons’ win while Matt Santiago dropped 21 points to lead the Maroon charge. UPIS never came close to the Falcons' score as they only managed 17 points for the entire first half. Their 41-point 2nd half did nothing to change their fortunes as they slipped to a 1-7 record for the season. Meanwhile, Adamson ties FEU for 4th at 4-4.
All 8 teams are scheduled next to appear on Wednesday, January 17 at the same venue.
Season 80 Standings (as of January 13, 2018)
School Win-Loss Record