Dave Ildefonso stars as NU holds off UST
National University held off University of Santo Tomas, 75-70, at the start of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Saturday night at Mall of Asia Arena.
Rookie Dave Ildefonso played like a veteran in his debut for the Bulldogs, scoring a game-high 20 points that went with seven rebounds, four assists and a block.
NU blew a 17-point lead it built in the third quarter after UST came within four, 72-68, after a basket by Steve Akomo with 1:36 left.
“Coaches were not satisfied. We played really good in the third quarter but we didn’t play selflsess in the fourth quarter that only shows that we really have a young team,” said NU head coach Jamike Jarin.
“But like what I’ve been telling everybody especially these young men, we have to mature fast in order to compete this season.”
First-year forward CJ Cansino also shone with 20 points and nine rebounds to lead the Growling Tigers, who muffed several chances to pull much closer inside the final minute.
Shaun Ildefonso, Dave’s older brother, added a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds while Issa Gaye anchored NU’s defense with seven blocks with six points and four rebounds to boot.
With Gaye inside for the Bulldogs, the Tigers had to bleed for points. UST’s guards Renzo Subido and Marvin Lee had a cold shooting night, combining for 8-of-43 from the field.
Despite the loss, a five-point loss to a Final Four contender in NU gives UST a lot of reasons to feel good about this year under new coach Aldin Ayo after coming off a season where it finished with only one win.
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