UAAP Juniors Basketball: NU Bullpups dominate FEU in finals rematch

Philip Matel on Dec 03, 2017 04:34 PM
NU Bullpups dominate FEU in finals rematch
The NU Bullpups fended off a late FEU Baby Tamaraws run to clinch their fifth-straight win in the UAAP Season 80 juniors' basketball tournament.

The NU Bullpups got the upper hand in a finals rematch against defending UAAP juniors basketball champions FEU Baby Tamaraws, 80-68, in the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym Sunday afternoon.

Last year's runner-up blew the game wide open with an 11-2 spurt at the start of the second quarter to go ahead 31-21. The Bullpups then utilized another 11-4 run to close out the second period to lead 42-25 at the end of the first half. 

The run completely changed the complexion of the game, which was deadlocked at 19-all at the end of the first period.

The defending champions, though only featured seven returning players this season, showed their championship poise and mounted a furious comeback in the third quarter, venturing on a 19-6 run to come within four, 53-57, courtesy of Xyrus Torres' four straight triples.

NU tried closed the door on the Baby Tamaraws as they answered with a 13-0 run to go on top, 72-59, but LJ Gonzales made things more interesting, making several baskets as the fourth quarter wound down to come closer, 66-74. 

Unfortunately for FEU, a loose ball foul on Gonzales and a technical foul on Baby Tamaraws head coach Allan Albano effectively ended their comeback hopes as the Bullpups went up by double digits, 78-68, with under two minutes to go after Miguel Oczon's free throws.

FEU, who lost their third straight game of the season, falls to 2-3, as they yield to another championship contender, coming up short against Ateneo and UST, respectively. 

Gonzales led the Baby Tams with 18 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists but committed seven turnovers. Torres meanwhile chipped in 12, all in the third quarter.

For the still unscathed Bullpups, Oczon scored 21, including six from downtown, and making some key baskets in the game-clinching run.

"Sa FEU, hindi kami pwede mag-relax defensively. Being relaxed defensively led to the big FEU baskets, including those four straight threes from Torres," said NU head coach Goldwin Monteverde.

The newly-installed NU coach added that the team finally made stops in the fourth, and sees the team following their modest goals of winning in the first round.

BOX SCORES:

NU (80) -- Oczon 21, Amsali 15, Malonzo 14, Gonzales 9, Manalang 7, Pangilinan 6, Fortea 3, Coyoca 3, Javillonar 2, Minerva 0.

FEU (68) -- Gonzales 18, Torres 12, Abarrientos 12, Alforque 7, Tolentico 6, Celso 6, Sajonia 3, Ona 2, Barasi 2, Boc 0, Libago 0, Escarda 0.

Quarter Scores: 19-19, 42-25, 57-53, 80-68.

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