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NU tries to take UAAP juniors basketball title anew

By Dugout Philippines

SAN JUAN, MM—National University seeks to annex the championship on its second try against a De La Salle-Zobel side trying to force a winner-take-all on Friday in the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The thrice-to-beat Bullpups hope to wrap things up and claim their third title in four years in Game 3 scheduled at 2 p.m.

Thanks to the heroics of MVP Aljun Melecio, the Junior Archers suddenly came back to life after being written off in the series.

Aside from his offense, Melecio, who is averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 assists and 5.5 rebounds in the series, also a served as facilitator to help De La Salle-Zobel deal NU its first loss of the season with a 71-60 win in Game 2.

Still, the Junior Archers main concern is how to neutralize Bullpups slotman Justine Baltazar, who is pulling down a whooping 23.5 rebounds in the Finals.

“We have to limit his points and limit the other guys from rebounding as well,” said La Salle-Zobel coach Boris Aldeguer on Baltazar.

Baltazar scored 15 points in the NU's series-opening 78-58 win two weeks ago and tallied the same number in their 11-point loss last week.

The Junior Archers are glad that other guys are stepping up aside from Melecio, as Marco Sario was solid in Game 2 with 16 points, mostly in the third quarter where the Muntinlupa-based cagers pulled away.

MR Romero also fared well the last time out with a double-double effort of 14 points and 10 boards.

“MR (Romero) just played right from within the game plan. We told him to get ready to shoot because we knew that every time Aljun (Melecio) would attack his screen, they will go after him. It worked to perfection,” said Aldeguer.

A victory by De La Salle-Zobel would send the Finals to a deciding Game 4 slated next Friday.

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