NATIONAL University subdued defending champion Ateneo, 64-53, to clinch the UAAP juniors championship yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The lopsided win completed a 2-0 sweep of the best-of-three series for the Bullpups, who annexed their fourth crown in eight seasons.
It also ended a two-year wait for NU to make it on top, with Terrence Fortea the lone member of the Bullpups team that won the 2016 championship.
Fortea sparked NU’s telling 9-0 run which proved to be what the Bullpups needed in unseating the Eaglets.
With the brief roll, the Bullpups were able to turn a one-point deficit to a 59-51 advantage, with 2:31 remaining.
The Bullpups have won all of their four meetings with the Blue Eaglets in the tournament, but coach Goldwin Monteverde was simply focused on the biggest prize.
“Actually, hindi lang namin goal ang Ateneo lang. We were very happy for every win,” said Monteverde, whose team lost only once this season.
After four years in the league, Monteverde, who handled Adamson for two seasons before moving to Bustillos in 2017, can now be called a UAAP high school champion.
Fortea led NU with 15 points while Cyril Gonzales had a double-double effort of 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The moment also belonged to Carl Tamayo, who held fort against Batang Gilas teammate Kai Sotto, to become the Finals MVP.
For the second straight game in the series, Tamayo scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.
More importantly, Tamayo’s tough defense held Sotto to four points in the payoff period.
The Bullpups were able to pull through despite the ejection of Gerry Abadiano late in the third period due to his second unsportsmanlike foul in the game.
Sotto, who was the season MVP, led the Eaglets with 26 points, 25 rebounds and four blocks.
NU (64) — Fortea 15, Tamayo 13, Gonzales 10, Quiambao 8, Torres 8, Abadiano 8, Felicilda 2, Alarcon 0, Javillonar 0, Mailim 0, Buensalida 0, Dayrit 0.
Ateneo (53) — Sotto 26, Padrigao 8, Chiu 8, Fetalvero 6, Diaz 3, Espinosa 2, David 0, Jaymalin 0, De Ayre 0, Ladimo 0, Salandanan 0, Narciso 0.
Quarterscores: 18-15, 31-31, 46-45, 64-53