NATIONAL University swept the elimination round of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup for the second consecutive year after beating University of the Philippines, 71-52, on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Bulldogs won their 19th straight game in the preseason tournament stretching back to last year's title conquest, an impressive feat that NU coach Eric Altamirano was quick to play down.
“We are not after that,” said Altamirano, whose team won last year’s title game against La Salle. “It so happened that it happened.”
“We are really focused on getting better and finding ways to improve our team,” Altamirano added.
NU will now take a break from the tournament as it will head to Perth, Australia for a pocket tournament against semi-professional teams.
UP was outplayed right out of the gates as NU led, 21-7, at the end of the first. The Maroons scored just nine points in the second period but actually held their own on defense. However, the Bulldogs still had a 34-16 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs held the Maroons to only 27 percent shooting from the field (20-of-73) while blocking seven shots.
Bobby Ray Parks had 15 points but 10 of which came from free throws as he went 2-of-7 from the field. But he had three blocks for the Bulldogs, who also got 14 points, 10 rebounds, and two blocks from Alfred Aroga.
“The defense of UP is good,” Parks said. “(Sam) Marata is a great defender and their guards are playing great D.”
“Coming into this tournament, a lot of teams are preparing for us because we have a target on our backs. But right now, it’s more on trying to get focused on getting better as a team,” Parks said.
The Maroons are still winless in five outings.
Raul Soyud had 14 points and 15 rebounds while Marata added 12 markers for the Maroons.
NU (71) – Parks 15, Aroga 14, Javillonar 12, Villamor 7, Neypes 6, Alejandro 5, Alolino 4, Rono 3, Rosario 2, Khobuntin 2, De Guzman 1.
UP (52) – Soyud 14, Marata 12, Lao 6, Ball 4, Desiderio 4, Wong 3, Asilum 2, Reyes 2, Gallarza 2, Suarez 2, Amar 1, Gingerich 0, Ligad 0, Pascual 0, Paras 0, Harris 0.
Quarterscores: 21-7; 34-16; 55-35; 71-52.