The young up and coming NU Bulldogs used a strong fourth quarter and were able to outlast the Gilas Cadets, 86-81, in the 12th Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup presented by Chooks-to-Go, on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Boasting their prized recruits and young core, the Bulldogs displayed maturity in the game's critical moments.
NU was enjoying a 72-66 lead early in the fourth period but the national squad refused to go down without a fight. Kobe Paras, who returned to action late in the contest after a collision forced him to sit the majority of the third period, sparked an 11-0 run to give Gilas a four-point edge with four minutes remaining.
The, Bulldogs, however, responded with a 9-0 run of their own in a crucial two-minute stretch to regain the lead for the Sampaloc-based squad and to seal the victory.
"We're maturing right now. As I've been saying, this group of young men have the talent, the skill level," said coach Jamike Jarin. "Theyll be very good in the coming years, but they are very young. We need to fast track our maturity and we're maturing every game."
NU was led by first-year players John Lloyd Clemente and John Galinato. Clemente, a former Bullpup, tallied 23 points, including 5-of-10 from beyond the arc, to go along with seven rebounds and three assists. Out of Chiang Kai Shek, Galinato also had the hot hand with 20 points, anchored by three 3-pointers.
Besides the two scorers, NU had huge contributions from Enzo Joson and Shaun Ildefonso who combined for 27 points.
"Hopefully we're in the right track. Come UAAP season, we can be mature," Jarin said as NU got their second win in five outings.
Gilas has now lost their fifth game to settle for a dismal 1-5 record. Kobe Paras put up 20 points in the loss while Abu Tratter had an all-around game of 16 points, seven rebounds, and four blocks.
NU 86 ---Clemente 23, Galinato 20, Joson 14, S. Ildefonso 13, Aquino 6, D. Ildefonso 4, Mosqueda 2, Tibayan 2, Gaye 1, Yu 1, Diputado 0, Gallego 0, Mangayom 0, Oczon 0, Sinclair 0.
GILAS 81 -- Paras 20, Tratter 16, Gomez de Liaño 13, Alejandro 11, R. Rivero 9, Ambohot 4, V. Tolentino 4, Tamayo 2, Tuffin 2, Go 0.
Quarters: 21-26, 43-47, 66-63, 86-81.