Abadiano, Fortea carry NU Bullpups to NBTC Division 1 title
Nazareth School of National University held off La Salle Greenhills, 80-78, to be crowned as the 2018 Exped SM-NBTC National Finals Division 1 champion Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Finals Most Outstanding Player Gerry Abadiano canned the go-ahead freebies in the final 29.9 seconds to give the Bullpups a 79-77 advantage, which proved to be the most crucial of his 24 points, six rebounds, and two steals.
“As expected of Gerry, even in tough games, you could see that he can deliver,” said coach Goldwyn Monteverde of Abadiano. “He can play good on both ends of the floor, on defense and in offense.”
Joel Cagulangan split his foul shots in the last 7.3 ticks to keep the Greenies’ hopes flickering, but Rhayyan Amsali made it a two-point game with a split from the charity stripe in the final 2.2 seconds.
LSGH had one last chance to force overtime, but Inand Fornilos was smothered in his attempt as NU came away with its second Division 1 title in the last three years.
Cyril Gonzales contributed 12 markers and two rebounds for the Bullpups, while Terrence Fortea poured all of his 11 points in the second half.
Monteverde saw this conquest as a redemption of sorts for NU after losing to Ateneo in the UAAP Season 80 Finals last month.
“For one, there were bitter lessons that we needed to learn. In the UAAP, it boiled down to last two possessions,” the coach said, harking back to the heartbreaking Game 3 where the Bullpups lost a six-point lead and eventually fell, 58-63. “But we saw in this tournament how tough we defended in the end and the team really improved.”
Cagulangan, who was adjudged as the Tournament Most Outstanding Player, led LSGH with 25 points, five assists, and three rebounds, while Fornilos had 18 markers, 14 boards, and two blocks.
NU 80 — Abadiano 24, Gonzales 12, Fortea 11, Amsali 8, Quiambao 8, Coyoca 5, Minerva 4, Tamayo 4, Malonzo 2, Oczon 2, Javillonar 0, Manalang 0.
LSGH 78 — Cagulangan 25, Fornilos 18, Marcos 17, Sangco 7, Mosqueda 6, Espinosa 3, Lao 2, Cruz 0, Lapalam 0, Morales 0, Natividad 0.
Quarters: 23-23, 40-35, 63-54, 80-78.
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