The Nazareth School of National University-Manila Bullpups left no doubt that they are the best high school team in the Philippines, as they bested the La Salle Green Hills-Mandaluyong Greenies, 95-83, for the second straight year in the Finals of the Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM on Sunday at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bullpups got the usual contributions from the UAAP championship-winning core of Carl Tamayo, Terrence Fortea, and Gerry Abadiano, to be crowned kings in the national championship for high school.
“Everything na naa-achieve namin, sobrang saya kami,” said head coach Goldwin Monteverde. “Every tournament naman, we really prepare kaya masaya kami for this.”
Monteverde also coaxed the usual total team effort out of his boys, as they counted five players in double-digits. They were led by Tamayo, who posted a 24-point, 18-rebound double-double en route to being hailed as Finals MVP.
Fortea and Cyril Gonzales also fired 23 and 14 points, respectively, while little-known forward Reyland Torres had his own double-double of 12 points and 16 rebounds.
It was the three-headed monster of Tamayo, Fortea, and Abadiano, though, who connived in the 15-2 run to start the second quarter that turned a tied tally of 21-all to a 36-23 lead for their team.
The Greenies didn’t stop just yet and came as close as five, 57-62, late in the third. But Fortea and Tamayo joined forces in a 5-1 counter that re-increased National U’s advantage to 67-58.
Inand Fornilos and Joshua David still kept working for LSGH, but their deficit would remain in double-digits for all of the final frame.
“Both teams, maganda yung program, pero ang basketball, ganun talaga. Sometimes, yung breaks ng game, pag napunta sayo, ganun mangyayari,” said Monteverde. “Pero both teams talaga, para sa akin, ang ganda ng takbo ng program.”
Not even the ejection of team captain Abadiano, who by then had 10 points, with under four minutes remaining slowed down National U’s march forward to a repeat of last year’s Finals which also ended with them on top of LSGH, 80-78.
With their back-to-back results, the Bullpups are the first-ever team to string together two championships in a row in the 12-year history of the NBTC Nationals.
For the Greenies, Fornilos showed the way with 20 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks while David contributed 17 markers, six boards, and two assists.
LSGH missed the contributions of main man Joel Cagulangan who chipped in one point and three assists, but was not at full strength as he continues to recover from an ankle injury.
The championship adds to National U’s individual awards, with Fortea and Abadiano in the Mythical Team alongside LSGH’s David, FEU’s RJ Abarrientos, and San Beda’s Rhayyan Amsali.
Another individual awardee is Red Cub Tony Ynot, who capped off his breakout campaign by being hailed as the Defensive Player of the Tournament.
The tournament is backed by Chooks-to-Go, Darlington-Exped Socks, EPSON, Huawei, Freego, Gatorade, Go for Gold, SM, Molten and also presented by 5 Plus and Lighthouse Events.
NU 95 — Tamayo 24, Fortea 23, Gonzales 14, Torres 12, Abadiano 10, Quiambao 4, Felicilda 4, Alarcon 4, Dayrit 0, Enriquez 0, Javillonar 0, Vinoya 0.
LSGH 83 — Fornilos 20, David 17, Mosqueda 12, Sangco 11, Calimag 8, Lepalam 6, Palencia 4, Valenzuela 2, Natividad 2, Cagulangan 1, Lao 0.
Quarterscores: 21-22, 50-41, 72-64, 95-83.