Bullpups reject Blue Eaglets’ bid for history
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Feb 27, 2018 06:38 PM
NU just denied Ateneo’s shot at one of the most dominant seasons in history
Nazareth School of National University remains the only school that has swept a season in the Final Four era.
Pulling off a 70-67 upset win on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre, the Bullpups emphatically erased Ateneo de Manila High School’s hopes for a perfect run in the UAAP 80 Juniors Basketball Tournament.
With that, the Blue Eaglets’ record now has one mark on the loss column.
More than that, what was once a more than probable historic season sweep for Ateneo is now a question mark as the two teams will figure in a winner-take-all Game 3 on Friday still at the same venue.
Migs Oczon brought out the big guns, firing eight of his 17 points in the payoff period while Rhayyan Amsali was his usual steady self with an 11-point, 13-rebound double-double.
Michael Malonzo also had much-welcome contributions with 10 points, five rebounds, and two blocks, all while outplaying and outworking Kai Sotto in the endgame. “Andaming lead changes, pero nag-stick sila sa game plan,” head coach Goldwin Monteverde said.
Chasing down a one-point deficit with 67 ticks to go, it was Malonzo who took the ball, spun into the lane, and found an open look which he converted into a layup. At the other end, it was again him who denied Joaqui Manuel’s short stab.
Just down 67-68 with six seconds left, the Blue Eaglets still had a shot to win the game, but Jason Credo’s inbound pass meant for Dave Ildefonso got intercepted by Oczon.
A breakaway layup from Oczon not long after and NU stayed alive with their biggest win of the season.
Overcoming the odds, the Bullpups preserved their distinction as the only team to have swept a season. That Hubert Cani-led and Jeff Napa-coached team did it in 2013.
This team, while not in the running for history, still finds itself one win away from an improbable title.
Dave Ildefonso paced Ateneo with 14 points while Sotto and SJ Belangel chipped in 10 markers apiece.
NU 70 – Oczon 17, Amsali 11, Malonzo 10, Javillonar 8, Manalang 7, Minerva 7, Fortea 4, Gonzales 3, Coyoca 3, Felicida 0, Pangilinan 0.
ATENEO 67 – Ildefonso 14, Sotto 10, Belangel 10, Credo 7, Manuel 6, David 6, Escalona 5, Angeles 5, Chiu 4, Diaz 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 21-21, 34-35, 47-48, 70-67
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