Coming off a one-month break, National University-Nazareth School did not miss a beat, crushing Far Eastern University-Diliman, 79-61, to move on the cusp of the title and sweeping the UAAP Season 82 Boys’ Basketball Tournament, Friday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Protecting a slim seven-point lead, the Bullpups outscored their foes in the third quarter, 24-12, to earning a healthy cushion entering the payoff period, 67-48.
Gerry Abadiano’s deuce at the 7:18 mark of the fourth frame then gave NU its biggest lead of the game at 25, 76-51.
“We started slow sa defensive end. Buti na lang pagdating ng second quarter naka-bounce back ‘yung mga bata,” said NU coach Goldwin Monteverde.
Still, the Bullpups faced some adversity early in the game, needing to buck a slow start. They fell behind by 14 at the start, 17-3, before Terrence Fortea led the fightback to enter halftime ahead, 43-36.
Fortea top-billed for NU with 24 points on 50 percent shooting, while Abadiano backstopped him with 14 markers, seven rebounds, and four assists.
“As a veteran sa team, nakita ko ‘yung first group namin, hindi maayos. Kaya ang mindset ko pagpasok ay iangat talaga ‘yung team,” said Fortea.
Twin towers Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo provided identical numbers of 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Nathaniel Tulabut chipped in 10 markers and eight rebounds.
On the other hand, Cholo Anonuevo paced the Baby Tamaraws with 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting. He also picked up 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three blocks.
Penny Estacio, FEU’s leading scorer, was held to just six markers on a woeful 1-of-17 clip.
The Bullpups look to capture their second consecutive title on Monday, March 9, at the same venue.
NU-NS 79 – Fortea 24, Abadiano 14, Quiambao 12, Tamayo 12, Tulabut 10, Felicilda 3, Alarcon 2, Torres 2, Enriquez 0.
FEU-D 61 – Anonuevo 13, Bautista 10, Pasaol 10, Libago 8, Bagunu 7, Estacio 6, Sleat 4, Padrones 3, Saldua 0.
Quarterscores: 17-22, 43-36, 67-48, 79-61.