UAAP juniors basketball finals begin, with NU eyeing golden treble and Ateneo out to complete season sweep
Mark Dyke and the NU Bullpups face a tough task of defeating the Ateneo Blue Eaglets three times to retain the title.

TITLEHOLDER National University, seeking to achieve a rare UAAP basketball triple crown, and thrice-to-beat Ateneo begin battle in the juniors finals on Friday at The Arena in San Juan.

The Bulldogs ended their 60-year title drought in men's basketball last October, when the NU women's basketball squad also won via 16-0 sweep.     

The last school to win basketball titles in all three divisions was University of Santo Tomas in 1994.

The Blue Eaglets hope to spoil the Bullpups' plan to join the party as the rematch of last season's championship series begin at 2 p.m. The game will be aired live on ABS-CBN Sports+Action.

NU defeated Ateneo in the Season 76 Finals, for its second title in three years via a 16-0 sweep.

Now it’s the Blue Eaglets who scored a sweep of the eliminations and hold a thrice-to-beat advantage, but Bullpups coach Jeff Napa is ready for the challenge.

"Mas mahirap man ang pagdadaraan, eh di mas masarap," said Napa.

Mark Dyke, Justine Baltazar, Philip Manalang and John Clemente will be the vital cogs for NU, which eliminated No. 4 De La Salle-Zobel in the stepladder semifinals.        

Behind soon-to-be named MVP Mike Nieto and his twin brother Matthew and Jolo Mendoza, Ateneo jumped straight to the title round after sweeping the double-round eliminations, 14-0.         

The Eaglets are gunning for their 19th title, but the first since 2010 after completing a three-peat behind Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal.

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