The Nazareth School-National University Bullpups wasted no time in taking control of the game.
Gerry Abadiano, Cyril Gonzales and Kevin Quiambao presided over a big run in the first period that paved the way for a 106-55 smashing of the University of the Philippines Integrated School Junior Maroons yesterday at the Arena in San Juan.
This allowed the Bullpups to post their 12th win in 13 games, and bag the top seed in the Final Four semifinals of the 81st University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) junior basketball tournament.
Terrence Fortea, returning from a one-game suspension he got during the Bullpups’ game with the La Salle Zobel Junior Archers, led with 23 points while Abadiano tallied 17 points.
Abadiano, Gonzales and Quiambao stepped up in the last 6:06 of the first period. They scored the points which allowed the Bullpups to move away on a 16-2 run and take a 25-10 lead when the second period started.
Bullpups coach Goldwyn Monteverde said they are now getting ready to do battle in the Final Four now that the cast is complete and they earned a twice-to-beat incentive.
“After dalawang rounds, mas importante pa rin yung latter part of the season,” said Monteverde.
The Adamson Baby Falcons, who drew big games from second stringers Didat Hanapi and Jake Engbino, smothered the University of the East Junior Warriors, 85-64, to hike their record in the fourth at 8-4.
Hanapi and Engbino shot 24 and 12 for the Baby Falcons, who could be the Bullpups’ opponents in the Final Four.
The defending champion Ateneo Blue Eaglets and the Far Eastern University-Diliman Baby Tamaraws currently share second and third spots at 9-3.
Fortea had incurred a disqualifying foul which included a one-game suspension.
He immediately made up for lost time as he poured in 23 points in just 16 minutes of action. Fortea was the front and center flamethrower that allowed the Bullpups to burn down also-ran University of the Philippines Integrated School, 106-55, on Sunday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The scoring dynamo had six of his team’s 11 total triples, shooting the Bullpups to their 12th win in 13 games.
More importantly, he also shot his squad to the overall top-seed for the Final Four.