UAAP: NU beats UST in thriller as Clemente, Baclaan take over

NU's Jhon Lloyd Clemente vs UST Tigers.

NU’s Jhon Lloyd Clemente vs UST Tigers. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/

MANILA, Philippines–The National University Bulldogs didn’t like the way they were pushed around by the Ateneo Blue Eagles in a recent defeat.

Jhon Lloyd Clemente and Jhay Baclaan made sure they won’t be bullied again in leading the Bulldogs to a nerve-wracking 69-63 win over the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Sunday in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tourney.

Clemente sealed NU’s second victory in three games by sinking four free throws inside the final minute that preserved the game-long brilliance of Baclaan against his former team.

“We played a really bad game last time. We forget about that Ateneo game and focused on this one,’’ said Baclaan, who had four threes and posted a similar 16-point output with Clemente.

Nic Cabanero’s three with 10.2 seconds remaining pulled them with four, but it turned out his flubbed freebies early on proved critical in the end for the Growling Tigers, who matched the Bulldogs in the standings.

“We did well in the third quarter, but we need to address our tendency to relax. We cannot do that once we meet the defending champions (UP) on Wednesday,’’ said NU coach Jeff Napa.

Cabanero muffed four of his last seven free throws in waning minutes after the Tigers clawed back from 18 points down and finished with 16 points.

“We simply lack the fighting spirit that we used to have in the first three quarters,’’ said Cabanero after shooting six of 16 from the field and going five of 11 from charity stripe.

The Tigers thrived on running the breaks, but shot a measly 24 of 65 from the floor, including clanking 14 of 16 attempts from the trifecta territory.

“This is the first time in my coaching career that my team finished with zero fastbreak points. We probably forgot how to run. In our next game, we shouldn’t fall in a similar situation if we want to win against the big boys,’’ said Napa.

The Scores

NU (69) — Baclaan 16, Clemente 16, Omar 8, Malonzo 8, Figueroa 7, Padrones 4, Yu 3, Minerva 3, Mahinay 2, Manansala 2, Palacielo 0, Galinato 0, Tibayan 0.
UST (63) — Faye 20, Cabañero 16, Pangilinan 9, Garing 8, Manaytay 3, Calimag 3, Laure 2, Lazarte 2, Mantua 0, Duremdes 0, Herrera 0.

Quarterscores: 16-14, 35-23, 57-42, 69-63


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