National University bested defending champion Ateneo, 78-62, in a Finals rematch to become the No. 1 team in the first round of the UAAP Season 81 juniors basketball tournament Saturday at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Terrence Fortea shot 17 markers, Gerry Abadiano had 16 points while Carl Tamayo, in their first UAAP match-up with Kai Sotto, had a double-double effort of 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Bullpups.
Sotto paced the Blue Eaglets with 23 points, 13 boards and three assists.
NU will enter the second round with a 6-1 card, while dealing Ateneo its second loss of the season. Tournament resumes on Jan. 13 after the Christmas break.
Earlier, Far Eastern University-Diliman overwhelmed University of Santo Tomas, 63-37, while Adamson University toppled De La Salle-Zobel, 72-57.
The Baby Tamaraws and the Baby Falcons forced a three-way tie with the Eaglets in second place at 5-2.
Bryan Sajonia took the scoring mantle for FEU-Diliman with 12 points while RJ Abarrientos and Royce Alforque each scored 11 markers.