The NU Bullpups remain kings of high school basketball.
The Nazareth School of National University became the last team standing in the 2019 Chooks-to-Go NBTC League National Finals presented by SM, defeating La Salle Green Hills, 95-83, in the championship game Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Sampaloc-based squad earned its second straight national championship, a feat achieved for the very first time in the league's 12-year history.
"Everything we achieve, we're so happy," said coach Goldwin Monteverde after his squad made history. "Every tournament, we really prepare, so we're happy with that."
Carl Tamayo had a monster-double of 24 points and 18 rebounds and was named the Finals MVP. Gunner Terrence Fortea fired 23 points, including four triples, while Reyland Torres added 12 points and was a beast on the glass with 16 boards.
Displaying precise offense and their signature pressure defense, the Bullpups stifled the Greenies throughout the game. It was a back-breaking 15-2 at the start of the second quarter that helped them create a 36-23 lead. The UAAP Juniors title-holders showed their might against the NCAA runners-up, leading by as much as 17 points.
The Greenies got to as close as five points, 57-62, late in the third canto, but the Bullpups had too much firepower down the stretch. The NU's advantage remained at double-digits for the entire fourth period. Lead guard Gerry Abadiano was ejected with under four minutes remaining after incurring a second unsportsmanlike foul, but that didn't stop the Bullpups from winning another title.
Inand Fornilos led La Salle Green Hills with a double-double performance of 20 points and 12 rebounds while Joshua David contributed 17 points and six boards. Team captain Joel Cagulangan was able to suit up but played only 12 minutes and contributed one point and three assists as he was still nursing an ankle injury.
"Both teams have good programs, but that's basketball. Sometimes, the breaks of the game just go your way, that happens," Monteverde graciously said about their opponent. "But both teams for me really run their programs well."
Winning the NBTC National Championship capped off an impressive showing by NU throughout the week-long tournament, showcasing the best high school talent in the country. The Bullpups also took home a few individual awards as Fortea and Abadiano were included in the NBTC Mythical Team along with LSGH's Joshua David, FEU's RJ Abarrientos, and San Beda's Rhayyan Amsali.
FilAm Sports USA's Jalen Green was heralded as the tournament's Most Outstanding Player while San Beda Red Cub Tony Ynot was named the Best Defensive Player.
NU 95 -- Tamayo 24, Fortea 23, Gonzales 14, Torres 12, Abadiano 10, Quiambao 4, Felicilda 4, Alarcon 4, Dayrit 0, Enriquez 0, Javillonar 0, Vinoya 0.
LSGH 83 -- Fornilos 20, David 17, Mosqueda 12, Sangco 11, Calimag 8, Lepalam 6, Palencia 4, Valenzuela 2, Natividad 2, Cagulangan 1, Lao 0. Quarters: 21-22, 50-41, 72-64, 95-83.