After a week of facing topnotch competition, the young National University Bulldogs ended their campaign with silver in the 2018 Lianfa Cup Maritime Silk Road International Basketball Tournament in Xiamen, China.
Entering the finals on a high, the Bulldogs were handed a tough loss by a selection from the Australian Chinese Basketball Association, 97-82, last Thursday.
Still, it was a memorable experience for the Bulldogs, as they were able to build a stronger bond that will help them in their upcoming campaign in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“We were able to bond together, while the boys were able to show that they can compete against strong teams,” said NU coach Ricky Reyes. “This will give us the added experience entering the UAAP season.”
Led by Dave Ildefonso and JV Gallego, the Bulldogs started their tournament with a character-building overtime win over Singapore, 90-81.
Ildefonso continued to ride his hot hand the next day, scoring 28 points in a 94-71 rout of Xiamen University.
Needing a win to punch their ticket to the finale, John Lloyd Clemente proved clutch for NU.
Down 66-72 late in regulation, the former NU Bullpup fired two straight triples to send their game against Malaysia into overtime.
Behind 32 points by Clemente, the Bulldogs ended up with an 86-85 win to secure a podium finish.
Clemente and Ildefonso were the two Bulldogs who shone the brightest during the tourney, posting averages of 23.25 and 18.75 points respectively.
Co-skippers Dave Yu and Rev Diputado, Matt Aquino, John Galinato, JV Gallego, Issa Gaye, Shaun Ildefonso, Enzo Joson, Chino Mosqueda, and Jonas Tibayan completed the NU contingent. Coach Reyes was the designated head coach of the Bulldogs while John Ferriols, Kevin de Castro, and Homer So were his staff.