NATIONAL University slipped past Ateneo, 82-81, in overtime to complete a 14-game sweep of the UAAP Season 76 juniors basketball action at the Blue Eagle Gym on Friday.
The sweep meant an outright finals stint for the Bulldogs – the 2011 champions – who also earned a thrice-to-beat advantage against their championship foe.
The Blue Eagles, a perennial juniors champion, came to life with an 8-2 blitz at the 2:35 mark of the extra period for a 79-73 lead.
But missed free throws by Thirdy Ravena spelled Ateneo’s doom down the stretch as NU scored nine unanswered points for an 82-79 lead with 38.8 seconds remaining.
John Cauilan fired 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, Hubert Cani shot 21 points, and Mark Dyke had 18 points and 20 boards for the Bullpups.
Despite the loss, the Eaglets still wound up No. 2 with an 11-3 card and are assured of a 'twice to beat' bonus in the stepladder semifinals.
Third-ranked La Salle-Zobel and defending champion FEU-Diliman collide in the first stepladder semifinals at 10 a.m. on Tuesday also at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Ravena collected 24 points, nine rebounds and four assists, while Mike Nieto had 16 markers for Ateneo.