Bulldogs puts Eagles in peril; Falcons score
It used to be that no team could hammer out a sweep of Ateneo in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.
Two teams have now pulled it off in Season 86.
National University (NU) repeated over the defending champions, casting doubt on their title-retention abilities with a 65-61 victory on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
But Bulldogs head coach Jeff Napa was not as focused on footnotes as he was on the Bulldogs’ rebound from an 88-78 loss to La Salle in their last outing.
“Good win for us,” said Napa. “Hard fought win for us because it’s the second round and everybody steps up, all teams step up. Last time, I told you we lacked effort [against La Salle]. We really emphasized the word ‘effort’ in our conversation with the team.”
Ateneo has now lost three straight games for the first time since 2013 and NU’s third straight victory over the Katipunan squad since the second round of last season also kept the door open for Final Four chasers like Adamson. The Falcons vaulted ahead of the Eagles in the standings after a 61-53 victory over University of Santo Tomas in the other game.
Joshua Yerro nailed four triples and finished with 17 points as Adamson notched its fifth victory in 10 games.
Jake Figueroa hit the biggest shots that mattered for the Bulldogs, burying a go-ahead three and coolly making the game-clinching free throws with 3.4 seconds remaining. But rookie Reinhard Jumamoy also sparkled, jumping at the chance to fill in for injured starting guard Steve Nash Enriquez with a near-impeccable performance that helped the second-running Bulldogs notch their eighth win in 10 games.
Jumamoy nailed his first eight of 10 shots, including five threes, in top scoring with 21 points while Figueroa scored 11 of his 18 in the payoff period punctuated by that crucial five-point swing in the final minute.
“I just made the most out of the opportunity and the trust the coaches gave me,’’ said Jumamoy. INQ