National U frustrates Mapua for third straight win
Alvin Laqui on May 14, 2017 03:44 PM
J-Jay Alejandro played around and finished off with 15 points to help lead the Bulldogs to their third straight win.
The National University Bulldogs pulled off a hard-fought 85-80 victory over the reeling Mapua Cardinals for their third win in as many games in the FilOil Preseason Tournament at the Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Matt Salem and J-Jay Alejandro scored 15 markers apiece to help keep the Bulldogs’ clean start while Senegalese big man Issa Gaye stepped up big for NU, producing 14 points and 11 rebounds, all while protecting the paint against an undersized Mapua team.
The Bulldogs started out strong, leading the Cardinals 26-16 after the first quarter, before Atoy Co’s wards found their touch in the second frame to cut the deficit to 45-41 at the half.
Entering the third, the Cardinals’ counterattack proved to be no fluke, as they scored seven unanswered points, capped off by a booming triple from Jaypee Nieles to tie things up at 61 apiece with 3 minutes to go.
But the Bulldogs, determined to keep their winning streak alive, quickly replied with a 9-0 run that included an and-one from Niko Abatayo to give NU the 70-61 lead heading into the fourth.
Mapua kept the game close in the final frame, cutting the lead down to two points, 70-68 after an Andoy Estrella jumper with 7 minutes to go.
But it was NU’s shooters who found their touch at the right time. Salem scored five straight points, including the dagger triple to keep Mapua winless after three games.
Estrella led the Cardinals with 14 points, while Christian Bunag chipped in with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Even after blowing their lead a couple of times, NU head coach Jamike Jarin explains the team’s composed mindset, “We controlled the entire game, we led big then they came back. It’s still a process for us playing different positions, different lineups, so it would be very hard to sustain it. It was a chance for us to really test some of the players.”
NATIONAL U 85 - Salem 15, Alejandro 15, Gaye 14, Yu 10, Joson 6, Tibayan 6, Abatayo 4, Lastimosa 4, Cauilan 3, Diputado 2, Flores 2, Morido 2, Galvelo 2, Aquino 0, Bartlett 0, Mosqueda 0, Rangel 0, Sistoza 0.
MAPUA 80 - Estrella 14, Pelayo 13, Bunag 12, Victoria 12, Raflores 8, Biteng 6, Serrano 5, Nieles 5, Aguirre 4, Gamboa 1, Gabo 0, Magboo 0.
26-16, 45-41, 70-61, 85-80