The NU Bulldogs end their UAAP Season 81 campaign on a positive note, pulling out a 79-71 win over the UE Red Warriors Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Troy Rike capped off his lone season for NU with a stellar line of 17 points and 13 rebounds, the best game of his brief UAAP career.
"It was great to end the season with a win obviously," Rike said. "The whole team, and myself, we wish we had a better season than we did."
Issa Gaye added 12 points and six boards but his biggest contribution was on the defensive end with eight blocks. Graduating seniors Dave Yu, Rev Dipuatado, and Matthew Aquino combined for 18 points in their final game for NU.
Despite failing to enter the Final Four, the Bulldogs hope their young core of John Lloyd Clemente, Sean and Dave Ildefonso, and John Galinato, will bring future success.
"I think we have a lot of young guys, unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to be a part of it. But going forward it's going to be a really strong team," shared Rike. "To see it kinda come together a little bit at the end was definitely a nice way to end the season."
Alvin Pasaol finished with 20 points to go along with 14 rebounds for UE. Pasaol, who has hinted in the past that he's thinking of going pro, may have already played his last game in the UAAP.
NU finishes the season with a 4-10 record. UE, on the other hand, finishes with a league-worst 1-13 card.
NU 79 - Rike 17, Gaye 12, Ildefonso D 9, Ildefonso S 9, Aquino 7, Yu 6, Salim 6, Diputado 5, Galinato 4, Clemente 2, Tibayan 2, Morido 0, Joson 0, Malonzo 0
UE 71 - Pasaol 20, Conner 19, Acuno 11, Varilla 10, Manalang 7, Bartolome 2, Guion 2, Cullar 0, Maloles 0, Gallardo 0, Strait 0
QUARTER SCORES: 21-17, 44-32, 58-46, 79-71
-- Alvin Pasaol finishes the season with a 24.4 point per game average, the second highest scoring average since 2003, next to Ben Mbala's 26.0.
-- UE's 1-13 record is its worst finish in the Final Four era.