NU secures solo No. 2 by beating Adamson; Ateneo still spotless at the top
MANILA, Philippines – The UAAP Juniors basketball tournament enters the home stretch in another quadruple-header in at the Ateneo Blue Eagle Gym, Wednesday, February 7.
First Game: NU vs Adamson
The morning opened with the second-seeded Nazareth School of National University (NU) Bullpups dealing a big blow to the Adamson University (AdU) Baby Falcons’ Final 4 aspirations with a 73-62 victory.
NU’s second quarter turned out to be the difference-maker in the game, as the Bullpups outscored the Falcons, 21-11. While Paul Manalang’s scoring was largely absent – scoring only 2 points in 32 minutes, it was NU’s bench who stepped up big in his stead.
In 21 minutes apiece off the bench, Winderich Coyoca and Michael Malonzo scored 14 and 13 points, respectively. Malonzo also nailed a double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds. Two other Bullpups also recorded double-doubles, with MVP candidate Rhayyan Amsali having an 11-point, 10-board outing and RJ Minerva tallying an 11-point, 12-rebound performance. Jose Sabandal led the losing effort on the other end with a game-high 22 points to go along with 7 rebounds and 6 assists. The Doria brothers Adam and Andrey combined for 24 points, but only shot 10/24 for the game.
Second Game: FEU vs UPIS
The second game saw the Far Eastern University-Diliman (FEU) Baby Tamaraws escape their second crucial nail-biter in a row over the University of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) Junior Fighting Maroons, 65-56.
Despite languishing in the lower part of the standings, the Maroons brought the fight to the defending champions, and even tied the game late in the fourth quarter, 51-all. However, it was the veteran play of reigning Finals MVP LJ Gonzales and Daniel Celso that clinched the game for the contending Tamaraws. A 14-5 run was more than enough to seal the deal and move FEU back up to solo third place heading to their last regular season outing against fellow contender UST.
Gonzales led the Baby Tams with 21 points and 4 assists. Celso turned in 10 points and 11 boards while Rei Tolentino channeled his inner Dennis Rodman with 8 points and a game-high 21 rebounds (10 offensive). Usual suspects Matt Santiago, Ralph Labao and Jaggie Gregorio led the UPIS rally, combining for 43 of the Maroons’ 56 points. Joelo Tupaz had a stellar rebounding effort with 16 boards to go along with 8 points.
Third Game: ADMU vs UE
Third on the slate was a blowout dealt by the undefeated Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eaglets to the cellar-dwelling University of the East (UE) Junior Warriors, 101-74.
The one-win Warriors surprisingly started out swinging against the formidable Eaglets, only trailing by 5 after the first quarter, 27-22. However, UE center Andrei Dulalia suffered a broken tooth early in the second after an inadvertent elbow from one of the Eaglets and would not return. Without their primary post defender, the Warriors opened the floodgates for the imminent rally by the Eaglets. Sure enough, Ateneo immediately launched a 15-4 attack that highlighted their 38-point second quarter. At the half, the Eaglets already led by 65-38 and just ran their bench for much of the second half, where they led by as many as 38.
Six Eaglets scored in double figures, led by SJ Belangel’s 16 points in 21 minutes. Dave Ildefonso and Jason Credo each chipped in 15 while Kai Sotto had 13 points and 8 rebounds in the easy win. Agem Miranda led the way for UE with 20 points, 7 boards and 4 assists. Genesis Vinte nailed a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Fourth Game: DLSZ vs UST
It was a game of runs for much of the first quarter, as the Archers shot out to a 9-0 response run after the Cubs opened the game up 8-0. DLSZ would go on to carry that momentum towards a 15-5 run, ending the period with a 15-13 lead.
Things went from bad to ugly for the contending Cubs in the second quarter, as frontrunner MVP candidate CJ Cansino was warned for taunting and called for his third foul (unsportsmanlike) on top of his offensive struggles. And for UST, it’s never a good thing when their lone star struggles, as they quickly trailed by as many as 11 points to the lowly Archers before ending the half with an 8-point deficit, 37-29.
The Archers kept on rolling entering the second half, with another 12-4 run to open up a huge 16-point lead. However, UST finally made stops defense and finished the third period with a 12-0 run to trim the DLSZ lead to 3, 60-57.
The Cubs used this newfound momentum entering the final frame, with Cansino successfully tying the game at 62-all. DLSZ bust out on a 7-0 run but UST closed the gap right back. However, with less than two minutes left in regulation, DLSZ’s Chris Calimag was left open for an easy layup and Prince Carlos nailed a triple and a long stepback two in consecutive possessions to put the Archers up 8, 84-76. The late run was enough for the Archers to hold on and complete the upset. Meanwhile, UST was unable to take advantage of Adamson’s earlier loss and remains tied with them at 6-7 for the last Final 4 spot.
Calimag led the upset efforts for DLSZ with 19 points and 5 rebounds. Carlos followed suit with 17 points and 3/4 triples. However, it was big man Raven Cortez who was arguably the player of the game with a near-triple-double of 15 points, 17 rebounds and 7 huge blocks, including a key rejection on a Cansino trey that would’ve closed the gap to a single possession with less than 30 seconds remaining. Speaking of Cansino, he eventually led UST again with a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double. Jezreel Villapando tied him with 16 points of his own and 3 key triples that almost completed the comeback for the Cubs.
NU (73) – Coyoca 14, Malonzo 13, Amsali 11, Minerva 11, Oczon 8, Gonzales 6, Fortea 4, Javillonar 4, Manalang 2, Pangilinan 0, Pradella 0
AdU (62) – Sabandal 22, Doria, Ad. 14, Doria, An. 10, Canoy 6, Manlapaz 4, Hanapi 2, Santos 2, Prodigo 2, Engbino 0, Padilla 0
FEU (65) – Gonzales 21, Celso 10, Torres 9, Tolentino 8, Bautista 5, Alforque 4, Abarrientos 2, Ona 2, Boc 2, Armendez 2, Sajonia 0, Mariano 0
UPIS (56) – Santiago 17, Labao, Ral. 14, Gregoria 12, Tupaz 8, Vergeire 3, Labao, Raf. 2, Estrera 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Villa-Real 0
ADMU (101) – Belangel 16, Ildefonso 15, Credo 15, Sotto 13, Angeles 11, Escalona 10, Manuel 8, Chiu 5, Lopa 2, Gusi 2, Jaymalin 2, Santos 2, David 0, Diaz 0, Tanedo 0, Ong 0
UE (74) – Miranda 20, Vinte 14, Dichoso 11, Policarpio 10, Angeles 6, Lopez 6, Dulalia 4, Tajonera 3, Villarta 0, Almacen 0, Santos 0
DLSZ (86) – Calimag 19, Carlos 17, Cortez 15, Santos 13, Consejo 7, Escandor 5, Vesagas 4, Favis 2, Damiles 2, Pascual 2, Chavez 0, Terrado 0, Udal 0
UST (79) – Cansino 16, Villapando 16, Baquial 9, Relucio 7, Lina 7, Manabat 5, Anunciacion 5, Narvasa 5, Dolendo 4, Estrella 2, Palencia 1, Benzonan 0
Season 80 Standings (as of Feb. 7, 2018)