The NU Bulldogs hacked out a 77-70 victory over the UE Red Warriors with a fourth quarter barrage to nail their first win in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament, Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Red Warriors came back from 15 points down and got their first taste of the lead with 28 seconds left in the third period on a Gani Stevens layup, 52-51.
But it was all Bulldogs after that as they went on a 16-3 blast bridging through the fourth frame to establish a 67-55 advantage with 4:08 to go.
“It’s a good win for us but still marami pa kaming kailangan trabahuhin. Bukas back to drawing board, we will review kung ano ‘yung mga lapses talaga namin,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa.
John Lloyd Clemente topscored for the Bulldogs with 15 points, while Jake Figueroa and Patrick Yu got 13 points apiece with the former chipping in nine rebounds as well.
Jolo Manansala was a revelation for NU as well with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field with nine rebounds.
Highly-touted rookie Kean Baclaan, who battled cramps midway through the payoff period, got eight points, five assists, and four steals against four turnovers in his debut.
Steve Nash Enriquez did not suit up for the Bulldogs due to a minor muscle strain that would sideline him for a week or two.
NU extended UE’s losing streak to 15, dating back to last season when the latter went 0-14.
Kyle Paranada led the Red Warriors with 17 points, five assists, and five steals, while Luis Salgado chimed in 15 points, five rebounds, and three blocks.
NU will face the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Wednesday’s quadruple-header at the PhilSports Arena at 6:30 pm.
Meanwhile, the Red Warriors will try to finally break their misery in the morning with a battle against the FEU Tamaraws at 11 am.
NU 77 — Clemente 15, Figueroa 13, Yu 13, Malonzo 10, Manansala 9, Baclaan 8, John 5, Minerva 3, Mahinay 1, Galinato 0, Padrones 0, Tibayan 0, Palacielo 0, Tulabut 0.
UE 70 — K. Paranada 17, Villegas 15, Sawat 7, Stevens 6, N. Paranada 6, Antiporda 6, Payawal 5, Tulabut 4, Alcantara 2, Remogat 2, Pagsanjan 0, Guevarra 0, Abatayo 0, Lingo-Lingo 0.
Quarters: 24-11, 44-32, 53-52, 77-70.