UAAP: NU books Final Four return after 7 years, eliminates UST | Inquirer Sports

UAAP: NU books Final Four return after 7 years, eliminates UST

/ 04:42 PM November 20, 2022

NU Bulldogs' John Lloyd Clemente.

NU Bulldogs’ John Lloyd Clemente. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines — National University finally ended a seven-year Final Four drought, securing its place in the post-season after booting University of Santo Tomas out of contention, 67-57, in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bulldogs averted a lethargic first half and unleashed a 12-0 run down the stretch, capped by John Lloyd Clemente’s dagger trey from the corner for a 64-54 lead that practically sealed the Bulldogs’ first Final Four appearance since UAAP Season 78 in 2015.

Clemente poured in 19 points on 4-of-7 shooting from deep and also nailed three crucial free throws that set their final count.

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The Growling Tigers led as many as 11, 36-25, midway through the second quarter and entered the break with a 36-29 advantage with Nic Cabanero scoring 13 of his 20 points. 

The Bulldogs got their act together in the third quarter and took a 46-44 lead entering the payoff period before keeping UST scoreless for five minutes with Steve Nash Enriquez’s triple sparking their 12 straight unanswered points. 

BEYOND FINAL FOUR

NU coach Jeff Napa.

NU coach Jeff Napa. –Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

Despite winning four straight games to boost their chances to a twice-to-beat advantage with a 9-3 record, NU coach Jeff Napa stressed their goal is not only to reach the Final Four.

“We have to be ready for our last two games of the second round. Reaching the Final Four is not just our target. We’re looking forward to achieving more. This is just the start of our story. We have to finish it,” said Napa in Filipino.

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“Bad win for us but still survived this lintik (damned) UST. UST is playing without pressure so they played their hearts out and gave us a problem. Good thing we were able to regroup to come back in the second half and get the win.”

Omar John also helped NU with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting but only grabbed two rebounds, while Kean Baclaan had 10 points, six assists, and five boards as they scored 14 points off UST’s 15 turnovers,

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Cabanero led UST with 20 points and six rebounds, while Adama Faye had 11 points, 15 boards, and three blocks as their team bombed out of Final Four contention, losing 10 straight of its 11 games.

The Scores:

NU 67 — Clemente 19, John 12, Baclaan 10, Malonzo 6, Manansala 6, Figueroa 4, Palacielo 4, Enriquez 3, Galinato 3, Yu 0, Mahinay 0, Tibayan 0, Padrones 0, Minerva 0.

UST 57 — Cabanero 20, Faye 11, Pangilinan 8, Garing 6, Calimag 5, Manaytay 4, Duremdes 3, Manalang 0.

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Quarters: 11-20, 29-36, 46-44, 67-57.

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TAGS: john lloyd clemente, NU Bulldogs, UAAP Season 85, UST Growling Tigers

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