NATIONAL University downed a hard-fighting University of the East team missing two standouts, 81-73, yesterday and tied idle Far Eastern University for the lead in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bulldogs rode a late run anchored on Ray Parks and Emmanuel Mbe to clinch a fifth straight victory that lifted them on top with the Tams at 8-3. The Warriors fell into a tie for fifth with the University of Santo Tomas Tigers at 5-5.
Meanwhile, fierce rivals Ateneo and La Salle fight for solo third in a crucial showdown today at 4 p.m. also at the Big Dome.
Deadlocked at 6-4, the defending champion Eagles go for a sixth straight win after a 0-3 start while the Archers eye a fourth straight victory.
FEU, the struggling leader that still has only one win to show in the second round, tackles University of Santo Tomas in the first game at 12 noon.
Tickets for the double-header are sold separately.
Both Parks (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Mbe (18 points, 11 rebounds) came out with double-double outings to lead the Bulldogs, who found no breathing against the Warriors missing suspended standouts Charles Mamie and Lord Casajeros.
Earlier, Adamson hammered out a 67-53 rout of University of the Philippines even minus ill star Jericho Cruz.
Ingrid Sewa posted a double-double of 18 points and 15 rebounds to help the Falcons snap a six-game losing skid. After the game, Adamson coach Leo Austria said he’s stepping down at the end of the season.
“This will be my last season in the UAAP; I want them to have a change,” said Austria, who made the surprise announcement in the post-game interview.
Austria, who mentored the Falcons for seven seasons, admitted that the string of losses took its toll on his relationship with the school and the team.
“I was disappointed with this season, especially in the second round because we played well in the first round,” said Austria, who’s expected to take on a bigger role than as Petron assistant in the PBA after his Adamson contract expires on Oct. 31.
“Because of our losses, they’re starting to doubt my ability as a coach. It’s a lack of confidence, so I’m trying to protect my integrity.”
ADAMSON 67—Sewa 18, Cabrera 17, Rios 16, Trollano 11, Iñigo 4, Monteclaro 1, Petilos 0, Ochea 0, Brondial 0, Agustin 0.
UP 53—Soyud 17, Marata 8, Lao 0, Asilum 7, Desiderio 4, Ball 4, Wong 2, Pascual 2, Ligad 1m Suarez 0, Gingerich 0, Amar 0.
Quarters: 20-14, 35-24, 46-38, 67-53
NU 81—Parks 18, Mbe 18, Roño 12, Villamor 6, Rosario 6, Javillonar 6, Porter 4, Khobuntin 4, Alolino 3, Javelona 2, Alejandro 2.
UE 73—Noble 16, Olivares 15, Sumang 10, Javier 10, Jumao-as 8, Sumido 6, Santos 5, Olayon 2, Alberto 1, Pujante 0, Hernandez 0, Flores 0.
Quarters: 16-14, 41-31, 52-49, 81-73