Bullpups end NU’s UAAP woes
They more than made up for National University’s heartbreaks.
The Bullpups completed a perfect season after downing the Ateneo Blue Eaglets, 81-74, to capture the UAAP juniors basketball championship yesterday at Filoil Flying V Arena.
Finals MVP Hubert Cani, a former national youth team standout, pumped in 25 points to power the Bullpups to an incredible 16-game sweep of the season that somehow eased the pain of NU’s collapse in the Final Four of the men’s tournament and the loss of the Lady Bulldogs in the women’s championship.
“Of course, it feels great to be a champion. We even made history,” said Cani in Filipino.
The remarkable feat came weeks after a pair of painful exits by two top-ranked NU squads. The Bulldogs got stunned by the No. 4 University of Santo Tomas Tigers in the semifinals, while the Lady Bulldogs bowed to No. 2 La Salle in the women’s title round.
John Cauilan posted 18 points and 15 rebounds and combined with Carlos Lopena to fuel the Bullpups’ strong start.
Unlike in Game 1 where the Bullpups rallied from 11 down before shocking the Eaglets in overtime, 101-93, NU led most of the way.
Aaron Black, who shot 30 points in Game 1, pushed the Eaglets within a basket, 64-66, but Cani responded by scoring four of the Bullpups’ next six points for 72-64.
NU 81—Cani 25, Cauilan 18, Lopena 10, Battad 9, Dyke 8, Mosqueda 6, Go 5, Manalang 0, Lapiz 0, Grealy 0, Claveria 0, Castillo 0.
ATENEO 74—Ravena 27, Mendoza 15, Black 12, Mi. Nieto 10, Ma. Nieto 6, Magpoc 2, Calilung 2, Salandanan 0, Ramos 0, Joson 0, Escaler 0.
Quarters: 27-20, 40-38, 63-58, 81-74