COMING off a one-month break, National University-Nazareth School did not miss a beat, crushing Far Eastern University-Diliman, 79-61, to move on the cusp of the title and sweeping the UAAP Season 82 boys basketball tournament Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Protecting a slim seven-point lead, the Bullpups outscored their foes in the third quarter, 24-12, to blow the game wide open entering the payoff period, 67-48.
Gerry Abadiano's deuce at the 7:18 mark of the fourth frame gave NU its biggest lead of the game at 25, 76-51.
"We started slow sa defensive end, buti na lang pagdating ng second quarter naka-bounce back yung mga bata," said NU coach Goldwin Monteverde.
But the Bullpups faced some adversity early in the game, needing to buck a slow start, falling behind by 14 at the start, 17-3, before Terrence Fortea led the fightback to enter halftime ahead, 43-36.
In the other game, Erika and Nicole Danganan took over in the second half as University of Santo Tomas dealt Adamson its first loss, 73-68, to take Game One of the UAAP Season 82 Girls' Basketball Finals.
Fortea top-billed for the Bullpups with 24 points on 50 percent shooting while Abadiano backstopped him with 14 markers, seven rebounds, and four assists.
"As a veteran sa team, nakita ko yung first group namin, hindi maayos, kaya ang mindset ko pagpasok ay iangat talaga yung team," said Fortea.
Twin towers Kevin Quiambao and Carl Tamayo provided identical numbers of 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Nathaniel Tulabut chipped in 10 markers and eight rebounds.
Chiolo Anonuevo paced the Baby Tamaraws with 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting, alongside 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals, and three blocks.
Penny Estacio, FEU's leading scorer, was held to just six markers on a woeful 1-of-17 clip.
The Bullpups look to capture their second consecutive title on Monday, March 9, at the same venue.
UST 73 - E. Danganan 19, N. Danganan 10, Serrano 10, B. Santos 8, Sison 8, Araza 7, Estudillo 5, C. Santos 4, Lacayanga 2.
ADAMSON 68 - Camagong 24, Padilla 17, Carcallas 10, Miguel 6, Agojo 5, Roy 4, Amdad 2, Brutas 0.
Quarters: 17-22, 34-39, 55-48, 73-68.
NU-NS 79 - Fortea 24, Abadiano 14, Quiambao 12, Tamayo 12, Tulabut 10, Felicilda 3, Alarcon 2, Torres 2, Enriquez 0.
FEU-DILIMAN 61 - Anonuevo 13, Bautista 10, Pasaol 10, Libago 8, Bagunu 7, Estacio 6, Sleat 4, Padrones 3, Saldua 0.
Quarters: 17-22, 43-36, 67-48, 79-61.