Ateneo de Manila University bounced back with a 78-76 win over defending champion National University (NU) in Game 2 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 juniors basketball championship series on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan City.
This time, Lorenzo Mendoza topscored for Ateneo with 20 on top of four rebounds and three assists while Matthew Nieto added 18 points, four boards and two blocks. Michael Nieto contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds and Gian Mamuyac chipped in 10.
The Blue Eaglets, who hold a thrice-to-beat advantage, are just a win away of claiming their first title since 2010.
“It’s a good bounce back win for us. We won’t win this if we don’t play defense,” said Blue Eaglets head coach Joe Silva.
The Bullpups, who won in Game 1 (76-72), got 19 points from Philip Manalang, 12 points each from Mark Dyke and John Clemente, and 10 from Justine Baltazar.
The Game 3 is scheduled on Friday at 2 p.m. with NU in a must-win situation to force a winner-take-all match.
Meanwhile, Michael has formally received his Most Valuable Player trophy during the awarding ceremonies. He also led the Mythical Team along with his twin brother Matthew, Dyke, Frederick Tungcab of Adamson University and Aljun Melecio of De La Salle-Zobel.