Rookie Bon Batiller shows way as UE Warriors keep titleholder NU Bulldogs winless
Bon Batiller comes up with a huge game to help the Warriors even their record after an opening-day loss. Dante Peralta

BON Batiller scored 23 points, leading University of the East in a huge third quarter run en route to a 76-71 victory over reigning champion National University on Saturday in the UAAP Season 78 seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The heroics by the rookie out of Holy Trinity College of General Santos City sparked the Red Warriors to their first victory while sending the Bulldogs to their second defeat in as many games.

UE coach Derrick Pumaren celebrated his first-ever win at Mall of Asia Arena since taking over the team last year.

“Ganito pala ang itsura ng press room sa MOA. This is my first win sa MOA,” said Pumaren.

Batiller scored 14 points in the third period after UE trailed, 32-37, at halftime. He wound up with four triples in the contest.

“I challenged the guys at halftime. I tried to push them. It was a great third quarter for us. We were hitting our three point shots. We tightened up our defense. We forced turnovers and we took advantage of it.

“The second half is the real Warriors that I’m looking for,” said Pumaren.

Edgar Charcos had 12 points while Paul Varilla tallied 11 for the Red Warriors, who scored 12 unanswered points to post their biggest lead at 57-43. UE outscored NU, 28-9, in the third.

Gelo Alolino scored 23 points for the Bulldogs, who lost for the second game in a row following their defeat against La Salle on opening weekend.

The scores:

UE (76)—Batiller 23, Charcos 12, Varilla 11, Abanto 9, De Leon 8, Palma 6, Sta. Ana 4, Manalang 3, Derige 0, Gagate 0, Gonzales 0, Yu 0, Penuela 0.

NU (71)—Alolino 23, Javelona 16, Aroga 8, Salim 6, Diputado 5, Javillonar 5, Neypes 4, Abatayo 2, Celda 2, Alejandro 0, Rangel 0, Morido 0.

Quarterscores: 20-16; 32-37; 60-46; 76-71.

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