High-scoring Clemente still upbeat on NU Bullpups' title chances despite rare loss
“’Yung 16-0 lang ‘yung nawala,” says NU Bullpups forward John Lloyd Clemente after the loss to De La Salle Zobel. Dante Peralta

NATIONAL University remained defiant despite blowing a shot at a season sweep after bowing to De La Salle-Zobel in Game Two of the UAAP Season 78 juniors basketball finals.

The Bullpups saw their unbeaten record evaporate with a 60-71 loss to the Junior Archers, denying them a chance to duplicate the season sweep pulled off by the 2014 NU team led by Hubert Cani and Mark Dyke.

Despite the loss, NU is still a victory away from the title, with La Salle-Zobel still needing two wins to take the crown owing to the thrice-to-beat edge the Bullpups gained for their sweep of the eliminations.

“Hindi pa po tapos ‘yung laban namin,” said NU star John Lloyd Clemente.

The 17-year-old Mythical Five member from Pampanga led the Bullpups in Game Two, scoring 25 points in a losing effort. Justine Baltazar, meanwhile, had 15 points and 20 rebounds.

Clemente said NU coach Jeff Napa told the players not to lose their confidence as they still have a strong chance at winning the title.

“’Yung 16-0 lang ‘yung nawala,” said Clemente, quoting Napa’s postgame talk with them.

Clemente rued the Bullpups’ defense on season MVP Aljun Melecio and support players Marco Sario and MR Romero as he vowed to bounce back in Game Three set on Friday.

“Gusto namin na manalo na po ngayon kaso po ganun ‘yung nangyari. Improve pa po namin ‘yung defense namin kay Melecio at sa mga kasama niya,” said Clemente.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports