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NU stuns UP to force long logjam for 1st place

Omar John introduced himself to the UAAP in a huge NU upset. Dennis Acosta
By Dugout Philippines

PASAY—National University put the first dent on University of the Philippines, 80-75, in the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament, Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

Down by 12, the Fighting Maroons turned the tables with a 22-4 blast, to lead by six with 1:09 left in the third, 66-60.

Then the Bulldogs answered back with a 15-1 rally bridging through the fourth frame to take a 75-67 advantage with 5:14 to go.

UP was able to inch within three after Carl Tamayo's triple with 1:13 left on the clock, 75-78, but Terrence Fortea and the former failed to convert their three attempts in the ensuing possessions as Steve Nash Enriquez sealed the deal from the line.

"Good win for us. At least kumbaga we beat a very tough team talaga that's why they're the defending champion. Up to the least talagang nag bleed kami kung anong kailangan namin gawin para makuha namin 'yung panalo," said NU head coach Jeff Napa.

Omar John had a career game for the Bulldogs with 16 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and two blocks.

Kean Baclaan got 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals, while Enriquez returned with 10 points and two steals.

Jake Figueroa also came through with 10 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.

NU, with its first win against the Fighting Maroons since October 8, 2017, forced a three-way tie atop the standings with UP and Ateneo de Manila University at 3-1.

Zavier Lucero ended with 22 points and eight rebounds for UP while Tamayo got 17 points and 11 rebounds.

Fortea was held to just six points on a 2-of-9 clip from the field with six turnovers.

The Bulldogs return on Saturday against Adamson University while the Fighting Maroons will have a Finals rematch with the Blue Eagles on Sunday.

The Scores:

NU 80 - John 16, Baclaan 13, Enriquez 10, Figueroa 10, Minerva 6, Clemente 6, Malonzo 5, Yu 4, Galinato 4, Mahinay 2, Tibayan 2, Manansala 2, Palacielo 0, Padrones 0.

UP 75 - Lucero 22, Tamayo 17, Abadiano 11, Alarcon 9, Diouf 7, Fortea 6, Gonzales 2, Spencer 1, Galinato 0, Calimag 0, Ramos 0.

Quarters: 23-24, 50-42, 66-66, 80-75.

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