National U, UE pull off stunning wins against rivals

By Maxine Louise Lagman

MANILA, Philippines – The National University (NU) and University of the East (UE) were forces to be reckoned with as they beat two of their strongest competitions yet in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday, October 13, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

NU shocked defending champions University of the Philippines (UP) with an 80-75 win. This is the Bulldogs’ first win against the Fighting Maroons since 2017.

“Good win for us. At least kumbaga we beat a very tough team talaga that’s why they’re the defending champion. Up to the least talagang nag-bleed kami kung anong kailangan namin gawin para makuha namin ýung panalo,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa.

Down by six, NU went for a 15-1 run going into the final frame for a 75-67 lead, 5:14 left.

UP inched within three off a Carl Tamayo triple, 75-78, 1:13 to go. UP had the chance to take the win, but Tamayo and Terrence Fortea failed to make a basket in the ensuing possessions, giving Steve Nash to seal the deal for NU. 

Omar John led the Bulldogs with 16 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and two blocks, while Kean Baclaan chipped in 13 markers, four boards, four assists, and three steals. NU is now at 3-1.

On the other hand, Zavier Lucero had 22 points and eight rebounds, while Tamayo finished with a 17-point, 11-rebound double-double as UP dropped to a 3-1 slate with NU and Ateneo.

Meanwhile, UE overtook De La Salle University (DLSU) in the final minutes of the game to take an 81-72 win, their first since 2019.

Down by eight, UE’s Kyle Paranada shot eight straight points to tie the game at 67-all, 4:17 left in the game. The Red Warriors kept their pace and went for a 22-5 run to stretch their lead to nine, 81-72, 34.9 ticks to go.

The Green Archers failed to recover, giving UE a share in the fourth spot with a 2-2 win-loss record.

Kyle finished with 20 points, six assists, three rebounds, and three steals, while his brother Nikko chipped in 18 markers. Luis Villegas added a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double record in the win.

Schonny Winston led La Salle with 26 markers, nine boards and four steals in the lost.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @meanxi

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