UAAP 80 JUNIORS BASKETBALL: How the Bullpups derailed the Eaglets' bid for perfection

Marco Benitez on Feb 28, 2018 09:55 AM
How the Bullpups derailed the Eaglets' bid for perfection
Rhayyan Amsali and the rest of the NU Bullpups stayed alive after a gritty performance in Game 2 of the UAAP Season 80 Juniors Basketball Finals on Tuesday.
The NU Bullpups played their brand of basketball in Game 2 of the UAAP Juniors basketball finals to upset previously undefeated Ateneo 70-67, and force a winner-take-all Game 3 this Friday.


The Bullpups made it all about defense and hustle as they limited the high scoring Eaglets to 67 pts, a far cry from their 86-point output in Game 1. Only three players scored in double figures for Ateneo, with no one scoring more than 14 points (Dave Ildefonso). In Game 1, four players scored in double figures for the Eaglets, with Kai Sotto and Ildefonso contributing 22 and 21 points, respectively.

NU also held their opponents to a measly 18% from three point range (4/22), compared to their 31% (9/29) in Game 1. Miguel Oczon and Win Coyoca combined for three of NU's seven 3-pointers in the crucial 4th period as NU outscored Ateneo 23-19, and eventually breaking the Eaglets' backs.


It was obvious that the Bullpups didn't want their season to end just yet, as they clearly outworked the boys of Katipunan, forcing them to 24 turnovers and doubling up on their offensive rebounds 26-13. This allowed NU to take 21 more field goal attempts (87-66), to overcome Ateneo's better field goal shooting.

With Kai Sotto and SJ Belangel struggling throughout, and NU drawing inspired performances from Rhayyan Amsali, Michael Malonzo and Paolo Javillonar, NU overcame the ejection of Cyril Gonzales to pull away with this crucial win.

Game 3 will boil down to who wants the championship more -- the winningest highschool program in the UAAP, or the team that has been to the finals seven straight years. It's going to be a classic for sure.


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