Clemente explodes for 38, but falls short of Napa's scoring record

National University's John Lloyd Clemente broke the highest scoring output in UAAP Season 81 after exploding for 38 points Sunday, but he was chasing an entirely different record.

The rookie knocked down five triples en route to 38 points to surpass the 36-point mark registered by University of the East's Alvin Pasaol earlier this season. His total also tied Kiefer Ravena's third-highest scoring performance since 2003, next to Pasaol's 49 and Ben Mbala's 39 points.

Clemente's feat, however, was still five points shy of breaching the 43-point milestone set in 2002 by his former NU Bullpups coach, Jeff Napa, who also serves as a consultant for the seniors' team.

The 6-foot-3 swingman admitted that he's been going after Napa's record since their previous game against La Salle, where he connected on five triples in the first half alone to finish with 19 points.

"I told coach Jeff that I'm going to break his record," he said with a chuckle, after the Bulldogs' 74-79 loss to the FEU Tamaraws. "That was really my target but I couldn't do it."

Clemente came close, thanks to a 21-point outburst in the third quarter that allowed his squad to cut a 16-point deficit to single digits by the end of the period. He displayed his scoring prowess in that stretch, forcing the Tamaraws to dig deep into their defensive strategies just to hold him off.

Unfortunately for NU, FEU built enough cushion and got crucial stops in the endgame to still come away with the win.

Napa, who shared one championship with Clemente in the junior ranks, was impressed with his mentee's achievement. He noted, however, that the young gun still needs to mature and improve on his shot selection.

"His performance was okay but he made a lot of forced shots," he said. "When you're hot, you should know how to control yourself. I told him not to settle for three-pointers."

"What matters is how he's going to take his shots, that's what he needs to adjust on," he added. "He needs to learn how to settle down. He's still young, he'll learn it along the way."

Napa's record is safe for now, but it won't be surprising if the 19-year-old Clemente shatters it with another eye-popping performance in the near future.

"As of now, I'm still the record-holder," Napa quipped. "Definitely (Clemente can break it), as long as he figures out the right secret. Good luck to him and to those who want to break my record."

"I wasn't able to break it but I have four more years to do it," said Clemente.