Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

NU Bulldogs’ Kean Baclaan within the UAAP Season 86 males’s basketball event. –MARLO CUETO/INQUIRER.internet

There’s been a whole lot of discuss within the UAAP males’s basketball event recently.

Ateneo’s win over College of the Philippines. College of Santo Tomas (UST) lastly placing an finish to a ghastly droop. And, recently, Kevin Quiambao’s rise to a Most Invaluable Participant (MVP) contender. “I’m honored and blessed to be half [of that list] and emerged as No. 1 … [I]t feels good to see your identify there however our important focus ought to be successful the sport,” Quiambao stated on Wednesday.

Quietly, although, one program has develop into the most popular workforce within the league.

Avoiding a fourth-quarter meltdown largely via the efforts of Kean Baclaan, Nationwide College (NU) received its fifth straight sport in Season 86 after nipping College of the East (UE), 64-61, at first of the second spherical of eliminations at Mall of Asia Enviornment.

Down by 4 with underneath three and a half minutes remaining, Baclaan gathered his teammates and reminded them about the necessity to preserve the workforce’s momentum rolling.

“I huddled them and stated: We will’t lose as a result of we want this momentum for Saturday,” stated Baclaan, who scored 18 factors, had 5 rebounds and three assists.

Go-ahead triple

He then proceeded to attain 5 straight factors, together with the go-ahead triple that gave Nationwide U a 62-61 edge after which some large stops, unlucky misses by UE’s Valuable Momowei and two free throws by the Bulldogs’ Jake Figueroa iced the ultimate rely with 5.3 seconds left.

And so it’s off to Saturday for NU, the place will probably be up towards Quiambao and the Archers.

La Salle will not be carrying a lot of a streak, however it can journey the wave of a 100-69 rout of the Tigers, who crashed again to actuality after plugging a 19-game dropping streak over the weekend.

Quiambao, who’s on monitor to be the league’s first native MVP after Ateneo’s Kiefer Ravena received the award back-to-back in 2014 and 2015, dropped 22 factors on UST whereas piling up 12 rebounds, six assists, 5 steals and a block in 23 minutes of motion.

“All of my statistics got here from the system of coach Topex [Robinson], coach Caloy [Garcia] and the entire coaches. I simply repay their belief and I’ve to step up as a result of I’ve a much bigger function this 12 months,” stated the 6-foot-8 Quiambao.

He’s going to be one other coach’s fear.

Bulldogs coach Jeff Napa stated the win over UE was necessary for league-leading NU (7-1, win-loss) because it heads into that showdown towards La Salle (5-3)—and past.

“We now have to undergo this problem so it can strengthen us for the obstacles that we’ll undergo [in the] second spherical. It was a hard-fought win however no less than [it was] comeback [for the team],” Napa stated.

Well being considerations“Credit score to my gamers regardless of being down by 4 factors, they didn’t let up. They made three essential stops to regain our momentum. We are going to shift our concentrate on our subsequent sport towards La Salle, however our concern would be the well being of our gamers. Hopefully, we are going to come prepared on Saturday.”

The well being considerations embody Steve Nash Enriquez, who harm his jaw after he acquired elbowed halfway via the third. Napa stated that they might get Enriquez’s jaw assessed instantly.

UE took a fifth straight loss, sliding to a 2-6 file earlier than dealing with the Tigers (1-6) on Saturday.

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The Warriors have been led by Noy Remogat, who gave his workforce its final style of the lead earlier than Baclaan took over. The spitfire guard had 18 factors, seven rebounds, seven assists and eight steals.

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