By: Anton Guarina
A late surge propelled National University to a 78-64 win over Arellano University to open its 2022 FilOil Ecooil Preseason Cup, Wednesday in San Juan City.
Steve Nash Enriquez provided the spark for the Bulldogs to break away from the Chiefs, scoring nine of his 11 points in the final frame.
With the game tied at 55-all with 9:09 remaining, NU went on a 10-0 blast sparked by Omar John and capped by an Enriquez trey.
The Chiefs then tried to muster a rally, trading blows with their opponents. But momentum-stopping buckets from Enriquez, John Lloyd Clemente, Robert Minerva, and new boy LA Cansinillo shut the door on the Chiefs, who suffered their second straight loss in the preseason meet.
“Long way to go kasi, medyo malayo talaga sa peak ng performance namin,” said incoming second year Bulldogs head coach Jeff Napa. “Still work in progress pa rin kasi bagong generation ulit ng lineup.
“Although meron holdovers, pero naging happy ako dun sa mga holdovers, at least, di mga plastic di ba?” quipped Napa.
Clemente led NU with 13 points on a perfect 2-of-2 clip from downtown with five rebounds and three assists. Meanwhile, Michael Malonzo notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Minerva and Casinillo chipped in 10 points each as well.
Cade Flores tallied 14 points and eight rebounds for the Chiefs. Kalen Doromal finished with 13 points.
NU will next face University of the East on Sunday at 1:00 PM, still at the Filoil Centre in San Juan City. Arellano will take on EAC earlier the day at 11:00 AM in the same venue.
NU 78 –– Clemente 13, Malonzo 12, Enriquez 11, Casinillo 10, Minerva 10, Mahinay 9, John 9, Manansala 4, Galinato 0, Padrones 0, Tibayan 0, Ramos 0, Libang 0, Gloria 0, Crisostomo 0
Arellano 64 — Flores 14, Doromal 13, Mantua 8, Mallari 7, Menina 7, Valencia 4, Lustina 4, Oftana 3, Tolentino 2, Balo 2, Talampas 0, Mamaradio 0
Quarterscores: 19-14, 34-36, 53-50, 78-64
The entire 2022 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup will stream LIVE on Smart Sports Facebook page