After two game upsets by the University of the East Red Warriors against two league leaders’ AdU Falcons and ADMU Blue Eagles, respectively. The unfortunate happened when the NU Bulldogs made their own version of an upset when they finally clobbered the Red Warriors’ hopes for their 9th straight year Final 4 appearances.
Effective frontline – what has been the bread and butter of the NU Bulldogs throughout the game. Cameroonian Emmanuel Mbe who finished with 18 points and Jewel Ponferrada who finished with 15 points powered their way inside the paint, added with a good ball movement from Glen Khobuntin and Erwin Baloran.
It was a pretty intense game that went to the Red Warriors when they made a mini-spurt to end the 1st half ahead, 39-37. But the 2nd half especially the 3rd quarter would be the most dreadful 10 minutes for the Red Warriors’ entire season, they only managed to score 9 points against the NU Bulldogs 20 points, 57-48. Down by 9 points in the 4th quarter, the NU onslaught continues when they registered an 11 point lead 61-50, almost 7 minutes remaining in regulation.
But the UE Red Warriors were too proud to give this game away to the NU Bulldogs. Kenneth Acibar who finished with 16 points and 9 boards, Paul Lee who finished with 10 points and 5 assists, and captian James Martinez who finished with 14 points finally cut down the lead to only 2 points 66-64.
In the final minute, Paul Lee hit two birds in one stone when he got the 5th foul of Jewel Ponferrada and went to the freethrow line to tie the game, but Paul Lee split his charities and that was the 2nd to the last time the Red Warriors went close, after being down by 4 points in the last few seconds of the game, Paul Lee went for a quick-two but in no avail, before Raffy Reyes made the final 3 point shot to end it 68-67 in favor of the NU Bulldogs.
Ironically, it was also the NU Bulldogs who send the UE Red Warriors out for the Final 4 contention last 2001.
NU (69) – Mbe 18, Ponferrada 15, Hermosisima 11, Khobuntin 8, Terso 5, Baloran 5, Ignacio 3, Javillonar 2, Tungcul 2, Magat 0, Malanday 0, Singh 0.
UE (68) – Acibar 16, Martinez 14, Zamar 11, Lee 10, Rosopa 6, Reyes 6, Casajeros 5, Duran 0, Noble 0, Santos 0, Tagarda 0.
Quarter Scores: 20-16; 37-39: 57-48; 69-68.