NU Bullpups find spark in the third to buck lackluster start and take down Ateneo Blue Eaglets
Karl Penano led the defending champ Bullpups with 19 points. Dante Peralta

REIGNING champion National University defeated Ateneo, 78-71, on Saturday to start off the second round of UAAP Season 79 juniors basketball at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Karl Penano contributed 19 points, while Paul Manalang finished with 16 markers and six rebounds for the Bullpups, who upped their record to 7-1 to begin 2017.

Muhammed Salip had a near double-double of 10 points and nine rebounds for NU, which needed a 25-14 third-quarter burst to grab a 58-52 lead.

During the third period, NU consultant Jeff Napa was also slapped with a technical foul as he offered no excuse to the lackluster start to the match..

“Energizer ata ‘yung na-technical ako para magising ‘yung mga boys,” said Napa. “Hindi ko ginagawang excuse ‘yun (long break). All throughout naman, we are very competitive. Hindi lang siguro na-execute nung game plan namin nung first half.”

SJ Belangel had 14 points for the Blue Eaglets, while Dave Ildefonso had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Blue Eaglets.

Kai Sotto had eight points and four rebounds in nine minutes of play for Ateneo, which fell to an even 4-4 win-loss record for fourth spot in the tournament.

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