Far Eastern University-Diliman foiled Nazareth School of National University’s first round sweep bid with an 87-83 victory in the UAAP Season 85 high school boys’ basketball tournament Sunday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
The Baby Tamaraws weathered the Bullpups’ uprising from 13 points down in the second half to post their fourth consecutive win and the sixth overall in seven games.
Earlier, Adamson University held LeBron Nieto to his season-low with a 77-50 romp of Ateneo to tie with FEU and NSNU in first place at 6-1.
It was the Bullpups’ first loss since December 12, 2018 when they dropped a 59-62 decision to the Baby Falcons, ending a winning streak of 33 consecutive games.
The Baby Tamaraws posted the biggest lead of the game at 62-49 on a Cabs Cabonilas jumper at the 3:11 mark of the third period.
FEU was still ahead at 75-64 on a Cabonillas basket with 5:23 left when NSNU made a rally and threatened at 80-83 on a Reinhard Jumamoy triple to cap an 8-0 run.
Liam Salangsang then scored the biggest basket of the game, a jumper that gave the Baby Tamaraws the needed separation at 85-80 with 24 seconds left.
“Mabuti na lang sa game na ito, naka-recover kami noong down kami sa first half, especially in the first quarter,” said coach Allan Albano, as FEU was staring at a couple of 10-point deficits.
“Yung game plan noong una, hindi nasunod. After noon, naka-catch up ang mga bata. And I salute the team because they did their best para makuha ang panalo,” he added.
Luke Felipe led the Baby Tamaraws with 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two steals while John Rey Pasaol contributed 13 points.
For Albano, his focus right now is for FEU to remain on top.
“Malayo pa ang tournament, may second round pa,” said Albano.
Jumamoy, who had two triple-doubles this season, came through with 17 points, eight rebounds, and six assists while Macmac Alfanta tallied 16 points, five boards, and two steals for the Bullpups.
The Baby Falcons put the clamps on Nieto, who only had four points on 1-of-9 shooting, way below his 17.8 points average.
“Hats off sa mga players. They did a good job doon sa game plan namin against Nieto,” said Adamson University coach Mike Fermin. “We practiced for two days. Yun lang usapan namin na i-limit siya kasi hindi mo naman masi-zero iyan. So we just have to limit him. Kapag may touch siya, kailangang may tao sa harap. At least, nasunod naman.”
Vince Reyes had 16 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two steals while Carlo Bonzalida contributed 10 points, six boards, and two assists for the Baby Falcons.
Adamson University, which has yet to lose since bowing to NSNU on opening day, is bracing for a tough second round.
“Kailangang ma-improve ang defense namin kasi sabi ni coach, kapag dumpensa kami, darating na lang po sa amin ang opensa. Makakapulot naman kami, titira na lang kami. Depensa po talaga ang mahalaga sa amin,” said Bonzalida, a Malolos native.
The Blue Eagles, who were led by Third Ebdane’s 12 points, ended the first round with a 2-5 record.
AdU (77) — Reyes 16, Bonzalida 10, Medina 9, Rosillo 7, Sajili 7, Perez 6, Carillo 5, Edding 4, Garcia 4, De Guzman 4, De Jesus 3, Culdura 1, Tambauan 1, Manlapaz 0.
Ateneo (50) — Ebdane 12, Domangcas 7, Prado 6, De Guzman 6, Tupas 6, Nieto 4, Arada 3, Salandanan 3, Delos Santos 3, Adevoso 0, Aguirre 0, Santiago 0, Urbina 0.
Quarterscores: 24-8, 49-20, 63-34, 77-50
FEU-D (87) — Felipe 22, Pasaol 13, Salangsang 12, Cabonilas 11, Mongcopa 10, Pre 6, Daa 3, Herbito 3, Pascual 3, Bautista 2, Miranda 2.
NSNU (83) — Jumamoy 17, Alfanta 16, Timbang 12, Clarito 11, Tagotongan 6, Colonia 6, Perciano 6, Solomon 4, Herrera 3, Demetria 2, Yusi 0.
Quarterscores: 16-24, 45-39, 64-54, 87-83