MARK Dyke had 23 points and 26 rebounds as reigning champion National University clinched the No. 2 spot in the stepladder playoffs, downing Adamson, 72-45, on Tuesday in the UAAP Season 77 juniors basketball tournament at the Blue Eagle Gym.
DJ Sta. Ana had 11 of his 13 points in the first half as the Bullpups secured a twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder against the winner of the knockout game between Adamson and fourth seed De La Salle-Zobel.
Ateneo clinched an outright finals berth after sweeping the elimination round.
Philip Manalang had 15 points and 11 rebounds, while John Clemente added 12 in an all-around effort by the Bullpups, who took the No. 2 spot despite winning just three of their seven games in the second round.
“’Yung effort ng lahat, ’yun ’yung matagal na naming hinahanap. Napaghandaan din namin sila. Maganda ’yung offense to defense. Maganda ang naging performance nila. Give credit to them kasi kahit papaano nakinig sila,” said NU coach Jeff Napa.
The Baby Falcons could not find their rhythm against the Bullpups’ defense early in the game, shooting just 25 percent from the field and 29 percent from the free throw line in the first half. They trailed 41-21 at halftime.
The Bullpups also limited Mythical Five member Frederick Tungcab to only six points in the game.
Adamson was able to cut the deficit to 16 points, 51-35, but its run was short lived as NU was able to pad its lead to as many as 32 points.
The Baby Falcons, who had won their last four games, were relegated to No. 3 and will play the Junior Archers at the start of the stepladder on Thursday at the Blue Eagle Gym
NU (72)—Dyke 23, Manalang 15, Sta. Ana 13, Clemente 12, Claveria 5, De Guzman 2, Atienza 2, Mina 0, Calma 0, Baltazar 0, Ferreras 0, Callejo 0, Saquian 0, Penano 0.
Adamson (45)—Sasuman 13, Pasturan 11, Tungcab 6, Cabanilla 5, Zaldivar 4, Fernandez 3, Egan 2, Antiporda 1, Chua 0, Boac 0, Calacalsada 0, Agbong 0.
Quarters: 19-9, 41-21, 59-37, 72-45