NU Bulldogs take down Ateneo Blue Eagles in UAAP Season 86 opener

MANILA, Philippines – As the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) formally opened Season 86, the fans were given a treat with an entertaining double-header where UE Red Warriors trounced UST Growling Tigers and NU Bulldogs upset the defending champions, ADMU Blue Eagles on Saturday, September 30 at the Mall of Asia Arena.

NU Bulldogs take down Ateneo Blue Eagles in UAAP Season 86 opener
“Small but terrible” Steve Nash Enriquez erupted from the three point territory in the fourth quarter to downsize the defending champs, Ateneo Blue Eagles. Photo Credit: Facebook/UAAP

Ateneo de Manila University, being the top team over the years and UAAP Season 85 basketball champion, was caught by surprise by National University after being down by a double digit early in the opening quarter.

NU Bulldogs’ comfortable lead was mere momentary as the second period approached, the Blue Eagles started to heat up from both the inside and the downtown and tied the game for the first time in the ballgame.

Refusing to surrender the momentum to the Katipunan-based squad, Kian Baclaan took charge offensively to reinstate their advantage mid second.

NU’s Coach Jeff Napa’s strategy to contain ADMU gunners Kai Ballungay and Mason Amos paid off for the first two quarters of the game.

The Bulldogs by far, had their best game against the Blue Eagles with the Manila-based team owning the first half 36-32 and John Figueroa leading all scorers with 8 markers.

It was NU’s inside scoring against ADMU’s perimeter game in the first half. The teams’ game style carried on in the third period and the Bulldogs kept it busy from owning the shaded lane to widen their margin.

With the way the Eagles play, Coach Tab Baldwin blamed their disorganized defensive efforts for his team’s misfortune.

Aside from the defensive woes, NU’s Enriquez started to be a big problem for Coach Baldwin and the rest of the Katipunan gang as the crafty guard began to pour it in from the outside in the penultimate quarter.

The Blue Eagles were optimistic in the final chapter that they’d make it up for their previous mishaps. However, the Bulldogs stuck with their game plan and even ramped up their digits to prevent their rivals from gaining the momentum.

Rays of hope began to dim for Ateneo as NU hit the 20-point advantage with over 6 minutes left on the clock.

The Blue Eagles pushed for the last time but the time wasn’t enough to salvage a win. The Bulldogs went away with a 77-64 very convincing win in the season opener.

UE vs UST season opener

Prior to the ADMU-NU clash, University of the East Warriors squared off against University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers to officially open UAAP Season 86.

It’s been a decade since Pido Jarencio last coached the Espana-based university. As a sign of warm welcome, the Tigers sported their clean-shaven heads which Coach Jarencio traditionalized when he first handled the university’s basketball program.

Taking over UST’s basketball team for the second time around is really a tall order for the former PBA coach after coming from a dismal 1-13 record in the previous season. Jarencio, however, didn’t promise stars and moon but assured the Thomasian community that the “Pride, Puso, Palaban” mantra is back.

The Tigers trailed the Warriors right from the tipoff and managed to keep the distance close with the help of Nic Cabanero and Christian Manytay. However, the Legarda-based squad led by Abdul Sawat, was able to fend off Tigers’ counter attacks to retain a sizable advantage all throughout the game.

Despite the gallant run in the final canto, Coach Jarencio’s boys still failed to give him his first UAAP win after 10 years and fell into the hands of the Red Warriors, 80-70.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

Add a comment here (0)
Previous Post Next Post