Despite being a young team, the National University Bulldogs were able to keep calm under pressure, withstanding a late surge by the Gilas Pilipinas Cadets to take an 86-81 win, Tuesday evening at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
“We’re maturing right now. As I’ve been saying, this group of young men have the talent and the skill level,” shared second-year Bulldogs head coach Jamike Jarin. “They’ll be very good in the coming years, but they are very young.”
The Cadets led by as much as 12 points with 1:46 left in halftime, 47-35, but the Bulldogs responded with a 13-0 run capped by a John Lloyd Clemente triple to give NU their first taste of the lead.
It was a nip-and-tuck affair afterwards, as both teams traded leads. Behind Clemente and Galinato, the Bulldogs were able to surge late in the quarter.
A scary moment occured at the 7:17 mark of the third frame when Kobe Paras bumped heads with Enzo Joson as he fought off a screen. Paras would not return until a full quarter later. And the second-generation cager’s reappearance proved to be the spark that the Cadets needed, scoring nine points in an 11-0 run to give Gilas the lead, 77-72, with 3:52 left.
“We need to fast track our maturity and we’re maturing every game,” added Jarin.
Galinato was able to stop the bleeding with a triple. Gilas, on the other hand, lost steam, as they could not contain the Bulldogs late.
Clemente and Galinato led the Bulldogs, scoring 23 and 20 points respectively. Clemente knocked down five triples while gobbling seven rebounds. Enzo Joson steered the wheel for the Bulldogs with seven dimes to go along with 14 markers.
With the win, the Bulldogs are not 2-3 in Group A of the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, presented by Chooks-to-Go. On the other hand, Gilas dropped to 1-5 and are virtually eliminated for the next round.
“Hopefully were in the right track na pagdating ng UAAP season, mature na kami,” closed Jarin.
Paras played his best game so far, finishing with 20 points. Abu Tratter had 16 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks.
NU 86 — Clemente 23, Galinato 20, Joson 14, S. Ildefonso 13, Aquino 6, D. Ildefonso 4, Mosqueda 2, Tibayan 2, Gaye 1, Yu 1, Diputado 0, Gallego 0, Mangayom 0, Oczon 0, Sinclair 0.
Gilas 81 — Paras 20, Tratter 16, Gomez de Liaño 13, Alejandro 11, R. Rivero 9, Ambohot 4, V. Tolentino 4, Tamayo 2, Tuffin 2, Go 0.
Quarterscores: 21-26, 43-47, 66-63, 86-81.