In his first game without Kenneth Tuffin on his side, Joseph Nunag shone brightly.
The former Far Eastern University Tamaraw produced solid numbers in his Franklin debut despite the Bulls dropping a 96-99 heartbreaker versus Auckland in the 2021 Sal’s NZ-NBL season, Sunday afternoon (Manila time) at their home floor.
Nunag, a 6-foot-1 Fil-Kiwi, had 14 points in off-the-bench duties along with three assists in 21 minutes of gametime.
“First game jitters were definitely a thing but I was coming in very confident in the work that the team and I had put in leading up to our first-ever home game. We know we put in the work and we all feed off each other for confidence,” said Nunag.
“Also to see the Franklin community fill up the arena and cheering right behind us provided an extra spark of energy for us to just go out and play harder.”
Leading by seven, 77-70, early in the final frame, Brook Ruscoe-Taiaroa rallied the Huskies.
Down by one midway through the payoff period, Ruscoe-Taiaroa nailed five straight points to put his side up by four, 89-85 with 4:45 left.
The trio of Nunag, Adam Dunstan, and Nicholas Fee tried to rally the Bulls back but crucial misses late led to the visitors taking this one.
Jeremy Kendle led Auckland with 29 markers, six rebounds, and three assists while Ruscoe-Taiaroa added 17 points and eight boards.
Joshua Selby paced Franklin with 24 points while Jaylen Gerrand and Denhym Brooke added 18 and 16 markers, respectively.
Franklin will next face Manawatu on Saturday.