Bullpups ground Baby Falcons; FEU-Diliman grabs playoff berth
NU and FEU-Diliman remain second and third in the standings both with one game to go in the elimination round
Nazareth School of National University has been showing off its offensive arsenal during its win run in the second round of the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
Up against upset-conscious Adamson High School on Wednesday, however, they went back to what is truly their signature – bully basketball.
Winderlich Coyoca topped the scoring column with 14 points, but it was a frontcourt which combined for 39 points and 40 rebounds that powered the Bullpups to a 73-62 triumph over the Baby Falcons at the Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City.
Michael Malonzo (13 points, 14 rebounds), Rhayyan Amsali (11 points, 10 rebounds), and Robert Minerva (11 points, 12 rebounds) all had double-doubles while Pao Javillonar chipped in four markers and six boards.
Behind that overpowering frontcourt, NU owned the glass, 65-46, and made a living in the paint, 48-36.
Still, Joem Sabandal kept Adamson close and they even tied the tally at 45-all late in the third before the Bullpups restored order with eight unanswered points and a 53-45 lead at the end of the quarter.
The Baby Falcons again threatened at 55-60, but Amsali and Coyoca had the quick counter that re-established a 68-57 edge for the boys from Sampaloc.
They would keep that double-digit advantage until the final buzzer for their sixth consecutive victory and 11th overall in 13 games.
With that, they stand strong at the second spot heading into a crucial contest against still undefeated Ateneo de Manila High School in four days which would determine whether there would be a Final Four or stepladder playoffs.
Sabandal paced the Baby Falcons with another all-around effort of 22 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
They were unable to build on their upset of University of Sto. Tomas three days ago and now hold a 6-7 record – good for fifth.
They may get back to joint fourth depending on the result of the Tiger Cubs’ game later in the day.
Meanwhile, Adamson’s loss helped out Far Eastern University-Diliman which is now assured of making the next round after taking care of business against University of the Philippines Integrated School, 65-56.
The defending champions were letting the daring Junior Maroons keep close with the score all even at 51 inside the last five minutes.
It was at that point that L-Jay Gonzales took over and score three points and set up two assists in a 10-2 counter that mounted a 61-53 advantage in favor of the Baby Tamaraws.
That lead would eventually end up as their playoff-clinching win.
Gonzales wound up with 21 points and four assists while Daniel Celzo posted a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Now at 8-5, FEU-Diliman will end up inside the playoff picture no matter what happens.
The fourth and final playoff berth will then be contested by 6-6 UST and 6-7 Adamson.
FEU-Diliman wrestles with the Tiger Cubs while the Baby Falcons take on De La Salle Zobel in the last day of eliminations on Sunday.
With their second straight loss, the Junior Maroons fell to 3-10.
NU 73 – Coyoca 14, Malonzo 13, Amsali 11, Minerva 11, Oczon 8, Gonzales 6, Fortea 4, Javillonar 4, Manalang 2, Pangilinan 0, Pradella 0
ADAMSON 62 – Sabandal 22, Doria Ad 14, Doria An 10, Canoy 6, Manlapaz 4, Hanapi 2, Santos 2, Prodigo 2, Engbino 0, Padilla 0
QUARTER SCORES: 14-13, 35-24, 53-45, 73-62
FEU-DILIMAN 65 – Gonzales 21, Celzo 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, Gregorio 12, Tupaz 8, Vergeire 3, Labao Raf 2, Estrera 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Villa-real 0
QUARTER SCORES: 16-14, 31-24, 49-41, 65-56
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