NATIONAL University limited San Beda to just six points in the third quarter to beat the Red Lions, 74-57, on Friday and reach the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup Finals for the second successive year at The Arena in San Juan.
Denice Villamor scored 18 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Bulldogs, who will now defend their preseason title on Wednesday against a much-improved University of the East team at 4 p.m.
NU is aiming to become the second team to win two straight titles in the tournament since De La Salle in 2006 and 2007.
NU coach Eric Altamirano said defense set the stage for the victory.
“That was the key for this game,” said Altamirano. “We were really disciplined and focused on defense. We forced them to 38 percent (shooting) from the field. We were able to control the rebounds and limit their transition baskets.”
After Art Dela Cruz’s basket kept the Red Lions within one potint, the Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to increase their lead to 46-38. The Red Lions scored two field goals after that as NU entered the fourth with a 51-42 edge.
Alolino’s three-pointer gave the Bulldogs a 64-49 lead midway through the fourth period.
Gelo Alolino had 15 points while Bobby Ray Parks had 12 points despite playing with a minor shoulder injury. Emmanuel Mbe had 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Baser Amer had 19 points but could not lead a San Beda rally this time after the Red Lions overcame a 10-point deficit to beat La Salle in the quarterfinals.
The Red Lions were relegated to the consolation battle for third place against University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday.
NU (74) – Villamor 18, Alolino 15, Parks 12, Mbe 11, Aroga 7, Alejandro 5, Javillonar 2, Rosario 2, De Guzman 2, Rono 0.
San Beda (57) – Amer 19, Dela Cruz 16, Adeogun 10, Dela Rosa 4, D. Semerad 4, Pascual 2, Abarcar 2, Koga 0, A. Semerad 0, Sara 0, Villaruz 0, Bonsubre 0.
Quarterscores: 20-17; 39-36; 51-42; 74-57.