NATIONAL University kept alive its title chances and prevented Ateneo from completing a season sweep, scoring a 70-67 victory in Game Two of the UAAP Season 80 juniors basketball tournament on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Miguel Oczon came up with a crucial steal and a lay-up late in the fourth as the Bullpups extended the series to a deciding Game Three on Friday.
The Bullpups ended Ateneo’s bid for a perfect season going 14-0 in the elimination round and taking Game One last week.
Oczon had 17 points and five rebounds, while Rhayyan Amsali had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
NU was the last team to complete an unbeaten season, winning 16 games in 2013.
Michael Malonzo had 10 points including the go-ahead lay-up with 57.8 seconds left to give NU a 68-67 lead.
NU won following a bizarre incident early in the third quarter when Cyril Gonzales was ejected in the game after being hit by Allen Tanedo near the bench area of Ateneo. Gonzales was ejected from the game, while Tanedo and Amchel Angeles returned to the match after being initially announced that the two Ateneo Blue Eaglets were also thrown out of the game.
Game Two was a nip-and-tuck affair with both teams only leading by as many as six points in the match. Ateneo was ahead, 48-42, and even led 51-49 past the halfway point of the fourth on a slam by Kai Sotto.
But NU responded with Oczon nailing a triple, 64-61, with 2:41 left in the fourth only for SJ Belangel to score back-to-back baskets to set up the tight finish.
Malonzo scored four straight points as NU held a 68-67 lead following a jumper by Joaqui Manuel.
Ateneo still had one last crack at the victory with five seconds to play in the game, but the Blue Eaglets threw a wild inbound pass that led to Oczon’s steal and lay-up.
Dave Ildefonso had 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Kai Sotto, after a triple-double in Game One, had 10 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks. Belangel added 10 markers.
NU 70 - Oczon 17, Amsali 11, Malonzo 10, Javillonar 8, Manalang 7, Minerva 7, Fortea 4, Gonzales 3, Coyoca 3, Felisilda 0, Pangilinan 0.
ADMU 67 - Ildefonso 14, Sotto 10, Belangel 10, Credo 7, Manuel 6, David 6, Escalona 5, Angeles 5, Chiu 4, Diaz 0.
Quarterscores: 21-21; 34-35; 47-48; 70-67.