Kean Baclaan waxed hot all game long, Thursday inside Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan to shoot National University over Ateneo de Manila University, 76-69, and onto back-to-back wins in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
The 5-foot-10 playmaker fired nine of his 26 points in the Bulldogs’ 20-8 burst in the first seven minutes. Just as the Blue Eagles made a run to as near as 22-26, head coach Tab Baldwin was ejected.
The Ateneo mentor picked up two technical fouls in succession for continuous complaining.
Still, the UAAP champions showed their poise and even tied the tally at 57-all late in the third quarter. Then Baclaan’s buzzer-beating trey over Sean Quitevis detonated a 12-4 blast that re-established a 69-61 advantage in National U’s favor with five minutes remaining.
“Far from satisfied pa rin kami. Siyempre, nandito kami sa preseason para ma-perfect namin kung anong gusto naming mangyari. Luckily, kahit papaano, willing to step up ang mga players today,” said head coach Jeff Napa.
Ateneo again threatened at 66-72 with 2:30 to go, until two straight inside hits from John Lloyd Clemente and Mike Malonzo kept them at bay once and for all. Malonzo wound up with eight points and eight rebounds, while Clemente ended with seven points.
Baclaan collected six assists and five rebounds as well.
“Alam naman ng players ko, never ako nasa-satisfy sa kung ano mang performance nila. Kumbaga, ‘di pa naman ito yung nilu-look forward namin. Marami pa,” said Napa after they improved to 3-1 in Group II of the premiere preseason tournament backed by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten.
Jared Brown topped the scoring column for the Blue Eagles with 13 points, as Jason Credo and Kai Ballungay chipped in 10 points apiece. Now at 0-2, they turn their attention to a rivalry game against De La Salle University on Sunday still at the same venue.
In Group I action, University of Perpetual Help gutted out another 94-81 victory over Arellano University for its sixth win to close in on an outright quarterfinals berth.
Arthur Roque scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, to go with seven rebounds and three blocks. Meanwhile, JC Abis had a double-double of 13 points and 17 boards.
The Altas improved to a still-group-best 6-1.
“Umaangat na yung growth ng mga bata. Reward para sa amin yung mga panalong ganito,” said head coach Myk Saguiguit.
Lars Sunga carried the Chiefs (0-5) with 25 points off the bench built on six treys, to go with eight rebounds in another losing effort.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University routed Faith Colleges of Batangas, 95-58, to get back on track in Group II.
The Tamaraws charged to a 17-2 start in the first four minutes before Luke Felipe took over and totaled 27 points built on seven triples. They also got 15 points, nine rebounds, and three assists from Rojan Montemayor in their wire-to-wire win that hikes their record to 2-3.
“Si Luke, kailangang-kailangan ko ‘to e. Floor-spacer namin ‘to e. Marami pang kailangang matutunan, pero kung naka-shoot na ‘to, tuloy-tuloy na yan,” said head coach Denok Miranda of his rookie wing, who was part of FEU-Diliman’s title team in UAAP 85 boys basketball.
The Braveheats lost for the sixth time in as many games, even after a 15-point outing from Lloyd Dimawala.
Also scoring a bounce back win is San Beda University, which overcame a 10-point second quarter deficit to take down Emilio Aguinaldo College, 84-78.
Emman Tagle fired 24 points on top of five rebounds, three assists, and two steals. Bryan Sajonia chimed in 23 points, six rebounds, five assists, and two steals of his own for the Red Lions roar back into the Group I winners’ circle now at 2-3.
“In a way, I can say I’m satisfied. But again, we’re far from the team we want to be. We’re using the preseason leagues naman to give all the players the opportunity to play,” said head coach Yuri Escueta.
Nat Cosejo and Joshua Tolentino scored 16 points for the Generals, even as they were dragged down to the same standing as San Beda.
Perpetual 94 – Roque 20, Abis 13, Boral 13, Ferreras 12, Nitura 11, Ramirez 10, Barcuma 5, Pagaran 4, Nunez 3, Razon 2, Gelsano 1, Cuevas 0, Movida 0
Arellano 81 – Sunga 25, Valencia 13, Bagay 7, Mallari 6, Camay 6, Anama 5, Abastillas 4, Villarente 3, Talampas 3, Dela Cruz 2, Flores 2, Rosalin 2, Domingo 2, Oftana 1
Quarterscores: 26-24, 43-38, 69-64, 94-81
FEU 95 – Felipe 27, Montemayor 15, Bagunu 12, Buenaventura 8, Anonuevo 8, Pasaol 7, Torres 7, Ona 6, Songcuya 5
FAITH 58 – Dimawala 15, De Castro 11, Llamado 8, Fernado 7, JG Torrato 5, JM Torrato 4, Millares 4, Villamor 2, Malizon 2, Navarez 0, Quiroz 0, Roxas 0, Taylo 0, Paguio 0, Rabino 0
Quarterscores: 22-11, 51-29, 72-43, 95-58
San Beda 84 – Tagle 24, Sajonia 23, Calimag 10, Puno 8, Teruel 6, Alloso 6, Royo 5, Jalbuena 2, Etulle 0
EAC 78 – Cosejo 16, Tolentino 16, Robin 10, Maguliano 9, Gurtiza 4, Umpad 4, Loristo 4, Doria 3, Angeles 3, Ochavo 3, Luciano 2, Cosa 2, Ednilag 2, Dominguez 0, Balowa 0
Quarterscores: 23-29, 38-41, 68-61, 84-78
NU 76 – Baclaan 26, Figueroa 9, Malonzo 8, Clemente 7, Palacielo 6, Casinillo 5, Jumamoy 4, Padrones 3, Galinato 3, Gulapa 3, Perciano 2, John 0, Parks 0, Colonia 0
Ateneo 69 – Brown 13, Ballungay 10, Credo 10, Padrigao 9, Chiu 7, Lazaro 7, Nieto 3, Quitevis 2, Nwabude 2, Obasa 2, Espinosa 2, Garcia 2, Bongo 0, Gomez 0, Tuano 0
Quarterscores: 20-18, 44-33, 60-57, 76-69