NU Bullpups get another shot at UAAP juniors title as La Salle-Zobel try to force decider
The NU Bullpups are a win away from their third UAAP title in four years. Jaime Campos

NATIONAL University seeks to wrap up the championship on its second try against De La Salle-Zobel on Friday in the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball finals at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The thrice-to-beat Bullpups will try to end the title series and claim their third title in four years in the 2 p.m. encounter.

Thanks to the heroics of league MVP Aljun Melecio, the Junior Archers suddenly came back to life after being written off in the series with a 71-60 win in Game Two.

Melecio is averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 assists, and 5.5 rebounds in the series.

Still, the Junior Archers’ main concern is how to neutralize NU slotman Justine Baltazar, who is averaging a whooping 23.5 rebounds in the finals.

“We have to limit his points and limit the other guys from rebounding as well,” said La Salle-Zobel coach Boris Aldeguer of Baltazar.

The NU star scored 15 points in the series-opening 78-58 win two weeks ago and tallied the same number in their 11-point loss the last time.

The other guys of La Salle-Zobel though, are stepping up aside from Melecio as Marco Sario was solid in Game 2 with 16 points, mostly in the third quarter where the Muntinlupa-based cagers pulled away.

MR Romero also fared well the last time out with a double-double effort of 14 points and 10 boards.

“MR (Romero) just played right from within the game plan. We told him to get ready to shoot because we knew that every time Aljun (Melecio) would attack his screen, they will go after him. It worked to perfection,” said Aldeguer.

A victory by De La Salle-Zobel would send the series to a deciding Game Four next Friday.

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