National University escaped University of the Philippines after a close 74-72 win in the Group A of the 15th FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup, Sunday afternoon in San Juan City.
The Bulldogs are now the only remaining undefeated team in Group A with four wins in as many games. The Fighting Maroons, on the other hand, have fallen to the second spot with a 5-1 win-loss record.
With the game knotted at 69, Michael Malonzo and Steve Nash Enriquez joined hands to give the Bulldogs a four-point cushion with 1:11 left remaining.
Tamayo however, refused to lose as he hit a three-pointer with under a minute remaining to cut NU’s deficit to one, 72-73.
John Lloyd Clemente split his free throws with 10-ticks left after a foul from Harold Alacron to give his side a 74-72 lead. In the next possession, JD Cagulangan missed a stepback three reminiscent of the shot he knocked down during the UAAP Season 84 Finals right before the buzzer expired.
“Kumbaga, sa amin di naman namin ganon ka-big deal [‘yung win] we’re just here to compete lang talaga. Then subukan namin kung hanggang saan kami, siyempre sila ‘yung defending champion, kumbaga sila ‘yung barometer kaya ng UAAP, so lahat talaga ng college team gustong subukan ‘kung ano ‘yung capability ng team na yan,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa on their win against UP.
Clemente led the way for NU with 15 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and a steal. LA Casinillio had 14 markers, six boards, four dimes, and three swipes, while Steve Nash Enriquez finished with13 points, four assists, a rebound, and a steal.
For UP, Tamayo finished with a game-high 24 points, 10 rebounds, four steals, and two assists but had five turnovers.
Free throw shooting was also a huge issue for the Fighting Maroons, only hitting 48-percent, 15 of 31.
NU will look to extend their win streak against Mapua University on August 11, at 1:00 PM. On the other hand, UP will have a week-long break before they face Adamson University on August 14 at 5:00 PM.
NU 74 — Clemente 15, Casinillo 14, Enriquez 13, Yu 7, Malonzo 4, Palacielo 4, Manansala 4, Mahinay 4, John 4, Galinato 3, Minerva 2, Padrones 0.
UP 72 — Tamayo 24, Lucero 10, Diouf 8, Galinato 8, Abadiano 7, Fortea 6, Cagulangan 3, Torculas 3, Catapusan 2, Alarcon 1, Gonzales 0, Calimag 0, Ramos 0.
Quarterscores: 19-19, 43-34, 60-59, 74-72.
The entire 2022 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup will stream LIVE on Smart Sports Facebook page