UAAP: Top spot goes to Bullpups after overcoming Blue Eaglets
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 15, 2018 05:54 PM
NU got the better of Ateneo in their first meeting since the Finals a year ago
Nazareth School of National University just sent a statement to the UAAP 81 Juniors Basketball that it is, indeed, the most formidable team in the tournament.
The Bullpups wielded their full arsenal to overcome giving up 47 fouls and 66 free throws and ultimately overwhelm Kai Sotto-led Ateneo de Manila High School, 78-62, on Saturday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Their Batang Gilas trio showed the way with Terrence Fortea collecting 17 points, five assists, and three steals; Gerry Abadiano tallying 16 markers, five boards, and two assists; and Carly Tamayo posting a 13-point, 10-rebound double-double.
More than those three, however, all of NU conspired to frustrate the Blue Eaglets to just 11-of-41 shooting from the field while also forcing 35 turnovers which were quickly converted into 25 points.
Indeed, it was when they amped up the pressure that they were able to pull off what proved to be the pivotal push, 22-5, to increase a one-point edge late in the third quarter into a 72-54 advantage early in the final frame.
That effort was more than enough to make up for the fact that they allowed their opponents to get more than half of their output from the stripe as the defending champions went 39-of-66 from there.
With the convincing victory, the Bullpups not only exacted some sort of revenge for their Finals loss a year ago, but more importantly, now stand alone atop the leaderboard at the end of the first round holding a 6-1 record.
On the other hand, Ateneo falls into a three-way tie for the second to fourth positions at 5-2.
Kai Sotto paced them in this one with 23 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks, and two steals while rookie point guard Ian Espinosa chipped in 15 markers, seven boards, two assists, and two pilfers.
Those two, however, combined for almost half of their team’s turnovers with 17.
NU 78 – Fortea 17, Abadiano 16, Tamayo 13, Gonzales 8, Alarcon 7, Quiambao 5, Enriquez 5, Dayrit 2, Vinoya 2, Mailim 2, Felicilda 1, Torres 0, Javillonar 0, Songcuya 0, Buensalida 0
ATENEO 62 – Sotto 23, Espinosa 15, Fetalvero 7, David 5, Jaymalin 4, Salandanan 4, Chiu 2, Diaz 2, De Ayre 0, Coo 0, Corral 0, Narciso 0
QUARTER SCORES: 16-16, 33-29, 61-52, 78-62
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