NATIONAL University bagged its second title in three years with an 81-74 victory over Ateneo on Wednesday, completing a 16-game sweep in the UAAP Season 76 juniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan.
Hubert Cani pumped in 25 points to win the Finals Most Valuable Player plum and help the Bullpups regain the UAAP crown. The Bullpups won the title in 2011 before falling short last year against a Jerie Pingoy-led Far Eastern University-Diliman squad.
John Cauilan added 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Carlos Lopena chipped in 10 points for NU, which held a thrice to beat advantage in the finals after going undefeated in the elimination round.
Season MVP Thirdy Ravena had 27 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists but couldn’t lift the Blue Eaglets to the crown before moving to the college ranks.
The Blue Eaglets last won the UAAP juniors crown in 2010.
NU closed the game with a 7-2 run after Ateneo came to within two points, 74-72, with two and a half minutes to play in the game. Enzo Battad drilled a triple for NU to start the run.
Ateneo was forced to play catch up all game after NU scored seven successive points in the first period for a 22-14 edge.
NU (81) – Cani 25, Cauilan 18, Lopena 10, Battad 9, Dyke 8, Mosqueda 6, Go 5, Manalang 0, Lapiz 0, Grealy 0, Claveria 0, Castillo 0.
Ateneo (74) – Ravena 27, Mendoza 15, Black 12, Mi. Nieto 10, Ma. Nieto 6, Magpoc 2, Calilung 2, Salandanan 0, Ramos 0, Joson 0, Escaler 0.
Quarterscores: 27-20; 40-38; 63-58; 81-74.