Posted Feb 16th 2014
Bullpups defeat Eaglets in Game 2 to complete historic 16-0 sweep
By Anton Roxas Posted Oct 10th 2013
For the second time in three years, National University is the champion of the Juniors basketball tournament of the UAAP.
The NU Bullpups prevailed over Ateneo de Manila, 81-74 in Game 2 of the UAAP 76 Juniors basketball Finals last Wednesday, October 9, 2013 at the Arena in San Juan City.
Unlike Game 1, where the Bullpups trailed the Blue Eaglets for majority of the contest, NU made the necessary adjustments to control Game 2. Trailing 5-2 at the 7:50 mark of the 1st quarter, NU went on a 6-0 run to take the lead and they were able to sustain it until the end of the game.
Ateneo committed 18 turnovers and the Bullpups captilized on that by scoring 22 turnover points.
After the game, NU head coach Jeff Napa was relieved that his team was able to reclaim the title that they won two years ago in UAAP Season 74.
“Syempre, nagpapasalamat ako ngayon kay Lord at sa NU community sa sobrang support na binigay sa amin. At least nakapagbigay ulit kami ng glory para sa kanila. History nanaman,” said Napa, who coached his fourth season for NU.
Napa acknowledged that although they swept Ateneo in the Finals and beat them in all their four matchups, they hard to work hard to earn each win.
“Ateneo is Ateneo. Grabe ang puso nyan. Di naman basta-basta ibibigay sa amin ang championship. Hindi susuko yan at binibigay nila ang best nila. Hindi talaga magpapatalo yan. Luckily, mas binigay sa amin ni Lord to tapos buong buo yung puso ng mga bata na ayaw na nila maglaro sa susunod, gusto na nila tapusin ngayong araw.”
NU became the first team in the Juniors basketball tournament to sweep the season since the thrice-to-beat incentive was instituted in 2008. Napa admitted that they only though about chasing the record during the season and not before it started.
“Nung elimination, medyo nakikita namin yung picture nung nagpapanalo kami ng sunod sunod. Parang, sabi naming, ‘Bakit hindi namin i-challenge yung mga bata?’ Eh yung mga bata naman, nagrespond sa sinasabi namin.”
When asked which championship was sweeter, Napa quickly pointed out this year’s championship.
“Mas masarap ang pakiramdam kasi dobol black eye eh. Champion kami, then na-sweep din namin yung season na to.”
Talented point guard and Mythical Five member, Hubert Cani was named Finals MVP after averaging 24.5 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals in the series.
“Sobrang sarap. Kasi yung last year, against FEU, talo kami eh. So, puso namin sobrang durog. Ngayon, sobrang saya kasi nag-champion kami. Tapos, nakagawa pa kami ng history, 16-0,” said the 17 year old who hails from Imus, Cavite.
Cani also added that he dedicated his performance to his supportive parents, his father, Jon and his mother, Grace.
League MVP Thirdy Ravena scored a game-high 27 points to go along with 13 rebounds and 6 assists in his last high school game in the UAAP.
Aside from Ravena, the Blue Eaglets will also be losing 7 other players to graduation including Aaron Black and Jaime Escaler. Key returnees for Ateneo will be twin brothers, Mike and Matthew Nieto and Jolo Mendoza.
As for NU, they will be losing 10 players to graduation including Cani, fellow Mythical Five member JP Cauilan, Enzo Battad, Chino Mosqueda and Carlos Lopena. But, the Bullpups will still have another Mythical Five member in Mark Dyke, plus lanky center, JR Lapiz.
“New kids on the block nanaman next year. Panibagong simula. Yan naman ang challenge sa pagiging Coach. Talagang start from scratch,” said Napa, now a two-time Juniors basketball champion coach.
NU 81 – Cani 25, Cauilan 18, Lopena 10, Battad 9, Dyke 8, Mosqueda 6, Go 5, Manalang 0, Lapiz 0, Grealy 0, Claveria 0, Castillo 0.
ADMU 74 – Ravena 27, Mendoza 15, Black 12, Nieto Mi. 10, Nieto Ma. 6, Magpoc 2, Calilung 2, Salandanan 0, Ramos 0, Joson 0, Escaler 0.
Quarter scoring: 27-20, 40-38, 63-58, 81-74.