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NU spoils Ateneo's sweep bid in Game 1 of UAAP juniors finals

By Ivan Saldajeno

As the UAAP juniors basketball finals began, NU pulled off the sweep-buster against Ateneo.

The Bullpups began their bid for a rare UAAP basketball grand slam as they trounced the Blue Eaglets, 76-72, in Game 1 of the four-game championship series at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.

NU's win canceled Ateneo's thrice-to-beat advantage in the finals and also ended the latter's 14-game winning streak that led to a sweep of the elimination round.

The Bullpups, however, needed to survive a scare from the Blue Eaglets as the defending champions almost squandered a 14-point lead.

NU led, 45-31, with 6:50 left in the third quarter of action as it threatened to pull away for good there.

But Ateneo slowly crawled back and was within one, 59-60, after free throws from Jolo Mendoza with 5:53 remaining in the game.

The Bullpups then unleashed an 8-1 run to secure the lead that they would hold on until the end.

Mark Dyke led NU, which reduced the series to a best-of-three affair, with 20 points, 17 rebounds, and three blocks.

John Clemente added 17 points and seven rebounds for the Bullpups, who are looking to follow the success made by their college counterparts in the seniors and the women's basketball season last semester and become the first team since the 1994 UST Growling Tigers to win all the three UAAP basketball titles at stake in a single season.

The Nieto Twins combined for 44 points for Ateneo, but both Mike and Matt only made 15 of 44 field goals.

Box Scores:

NU 76-Dyke 20, Clemente 17, Manalang 14, Sta. Ana 6, Ferreras 6, Atienza 5, Baltazar 3, Mina 3, Saquian 2, Calma 0, Claveria 0, Camaso 0, Callejo 0

Ateneo 72-Mi. Nieto 25, Ma. Nieto 19, Mendoza 14, Mamuyac 5, Andrade 5, Joson 4, Ildefonso 0, Ramos 0, Hassan 0, Salandanan 0, Eustaquio 0

Quarterscores: 19-19, 36-31. 56-49, 76-72