Defending champ NU, Ateneo begin championship battle

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Defending champion National University (NU) and top seed Ateneo de Manila University will begin their championship showdown today in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 77 juniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

The Game 1 is set at 2 p.m. with the Bullpups aiming to join their seniors counterparts as well as the women’s team on top of the podium. NU ruled the men’s and women’s basketball events held in the first semester.

The Bullpups made it to the finals by clobbering De La Salle-Zobel, 61-45, in the stepladder semifinals with John Clemente leading the score sheet with 14 points.

Besides Clemente, NU is expected to draw huge games from Mark Dyke, Justine Baltazar and Philip Manalang.


The Bullpups, however, will be facing a rough road as the Blue Eaglets hold a thrice-to-beat advantage.

Ateneo secured an automatic spot in the finals after sweeping the 14-game elimination round.

Michael Joseph Nieto, the season’s Most Valuable Player, along with his twin brother Matthew and Jolo Mendoza will provide the needed strength for the Blue Eaglets, who are gunning for their 19th title in the league.

They last won in 2010 behind then Blue Eaglets Kiefer Ravena and Von Pessumal.

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