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NU, Ateneo down rivals

By Jerome Lagunzad

Top contenders National University and Ateneo continued their early rampage while defending champion Far Eastern University fell prey anew last Wednesday in the UAAP juniors basketball tournament at The Arena in San Juan City.

Terrence Fortea sizzled with a game-best of 26 points while veteran Rhayyan Amsali added 14 points, 12 rebounds and four assists as the Bullpups turned back the Adamson Baby Falcons, 94-82.

More importantly, the Bullpups extended their unbeaten start to four matches and stayed on top alongside the Blue Eaglets, who proved too much for the University of the East Junior Warriors, 97-47.

Joaquin Manuel, younger brother of former University of the Philippines star Jett, sustained his solid play with 15 points, eight boards, two steals and two assists while SJ Belangel collected 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Ateneo.

Things, however, were not going in the way of the Baby Tamaraws, who suffered their second straight loss after running out of steam against the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs in overtime, 83-79.

John Cansino, fresh from a 35-point explosion the last time out, came up big with another double-double performance of 29 points and 11 rebounds to help the Tiger Cubs bounce back from an 85-89 loss to the Bullpups over the weekend and improve their mark to 3-1, good for solo third.

RJ Abarrientos tallied 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists but he still could not prevent the Baby Tamaraws from absorbing yet another loss after opening up their title-retention bid with two straight victories.

Meanwhile, La Salle-Zobel barged into the winners’ column by defeating University of the Philippines-Integrated School, 79-73.

Chris Calimag scored 18 points while Raven Cortez added 17 points and seven assists as the Junior Archers forged a three-way tie with the Junior Maroons and the Baby Falcons from fifth to seventh spots with similar 1-3 records.