The National University Bulldogs pounced when the University of Santo Tomas Tigers missed badly from three-point range and pulled off a 69-61 win yesterday at the Arena in San Juan.
Dave Ildefonso lifted the Bulldogs to their third win in nine games in the 81st University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament.
The 6’5” Ildefonso, who shot 16 points, had four rebounds, three assists and a steal, rose to the occasion in the remaining 4:38 with seven points. His inside play off Zachary Huang and three-point play off Germy Mahinay allowed the Bulldogs to take the upperhand, 62-58.
UST never got a another chance to move closer after Mahinay turned the ball over and Ildefonso knocked in a layup past CJ Cansino, 65-58.
“I just wanted to show that I’m beyond my years in playing. I’m 18 years old, I just wanted to show maturity. I have to attack, create plays and pass to my teammates,” said Ildefonso, the eldest son of retired PBA cager Danny Ildefonso.
Bulldogs coach Jamike Jarin admitted that they shot badly from the outside, with NU making 4 of 14 (28 percent) from the three-point range, but so did UST, which had a 10 of 36 clip (27 percent).
“It’s horrendous. Can I be happy? We were 4 of 14, but I’ll take it. Even though we shot bad, played bad, our defense held, I’m good with it,” said Jarin.
The Growling Tigers, who missed a chance to gain a share of third place, now have a 4-5 card in third spot.
Henri Subido struck with 18 points for the Growling Tigers, including back-to-back treys in the last seven minutes that allowed UST to stay within range, 53-55.
With NU behind, 33-44, early in the third, Ildefonso scored two freebies with 8:56 to go to touch off a 7-0 blast that put NU ahead, 41-34.
Troy Rike contributed 13 points and six rebounds, while John Lloyd Clemente and Issa Gaye banged in 12 and 10 points for NU.
Lee tallied 12 points for UST while Huang made 11 points and nine boards, and Mahinay provided eight.
On Saturday, the Adamson Falcons and the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles shared the lead at 7-2 following wins over separate foes.
The Falcons, with Sean Manganti firing 19 points, won over the La Salle Green Archers, 57-50, even as Angelo Kouame made 33 points and 14 rebounds in leading the Blue Eagles to an 82-62 demolition of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.