National University boosted its stock for the coming UAAP season when it defeated De La Salle, 64-54, to take the championship in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Hanes Cup at the Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
Bobby Ray Parks scored 19 points including the game-clinching dagger approaching the game's final minute - a tough pull-up three-pointer over DLSU rookie Jeron Teng that gave the Bulldogs a 60-52 lead.
The Bulldogs rallied late in the second quarter from an eight-point deficit, scoring 10 unanswered points to grab the lead, 28-26, at the half.
It was still a precarious three-point lead for NU at the end of the third, 41-44, but the Bulldogs started out the fourth with a 12-6 burst including back-to-back triples by Kyle Neypes and Emmanuel Mbe to put some distance between them and the Green Archers.
The Bulldogs finished the preseason tournament with a perfect 11-0 record—eight in the elimination round and three in the playoffs.
It was a morale-boosting win by the Bulldogs as they enter the final phase of their UAAP preparations. NU failed to make it to the Final Four last season but things are bound to change for the season hosts.
“I’m happy for the school. NU is a small school and yet we’ve overcome a lot of things. I know this is just a preseason game and it’s a long way to go but this is a big victory for the organization,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.
On their way to the championship, the Bulldogs beat UAAP rivals University of Santo Tomas, Ateneo and De La Salle.
“’Yung mga tinalo namin this tournament, ‘yun din yung nahirapan kami last season. UAAP is a completely different tournament but at least in the back of their heads, meron namang konting takot kapag nakalaban namin sila,” Altamirano said.
LA Revilla and Norbert Torres scored 14 and 13 points, respectively, for De La Salle, which despite the loss made a good account of themselves defeating NCAA squads San Sebastian and San Beda in the playoffs.
NU 64—Parks 19, Mbe 13, Alolino 10, Villamor 8, Javillonar 5, Neypes 5, De Guzman 2, Betayene 2, Rono 0, Ignacio 0, Labing-isa 0.
DLSU 54—Revilla 14, Torres 13, Andrada 8, Vosotros 5, Teng 4, Webb 4, Tallo 2, Mendoza 2, Gotladera 2, Manguera 0, Reyes 0, Paredes 0.
Quarterscores: 15-16, 28-26, 44-41, 64-54.