National University won its first title in the Philippine Secondary Schools Basketball Championship ‘Rain or Shine Cup’ with an anti-climatic win over La Salle Greenhills on Thursday at the SGS gym in Quezon City.
In winning their first crown in the seventh staging of the event dubbed as “Battle of the Champions”, the NU Bulldpups used an explosive third quarter to overwhelm the many-time NCAA champions, 107-87.
Batang Gilas veteran Gerry Abadiano, Terrence Fortea and Kevin Quiambao starred in NU’s 34-point rampage while helping limit the Greenies to just 20 points in the third that enabled them to pull away for good.
Fortea and Abadiano shared the Final MVP honors after delivering 28 and 27 points, respectively while Quiambao, who finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds, emerged as the tournament MVP.
Meantime, deposed champion San Beda University salvaged some measure of pride by edging Far Eastern University, 78-76, in the tourney also bankrolled by Poly Gloss, Freego, Dickies Underwear, Hapee Toothepaste, IronCon Builders, MEC Networks, Blackwater Sports, and Che’Lu Bar and Grill.
League chairman Terry Que of Rain or Shine and vice chairman Eduard Tio of Freego hailed NU’s victory and so were the 11 other schools which took part in the five-day tournament.
“NU showed why it is leading in the UAAP standings right now. They (Bullpups) have a great talent,” said Que, who co-own the ROS team in the PBA with Raymond Yu. “We had another successful tournament so I’m hoping we can help more high school teams in the future.”
The game was extra tight in the first two quarters until Abadiano and Fortea found their range and led the team to several offensive spurts.
The title was the fifth for the Goldwin Monteverde-mentored Bullpups, having ruled the PCABL, Palarong Pambansa, ASEAN School and the NBTC National Final – the last also against the Greenies.
Quiambao led the Mythical Selection that included NU teammate Cyril Gonzales, San Beda’s Anfernee etacio, FEU’s RJ Abarrientos and La Salle’s Inand Fornillos.
With the title win – worth P50,000 – NU joined the elite list of champions – Hope Christian High School, San Sebastian College, Chiang Kai Shek College, San Beda, and Adamson.
This year’s edition saw the return of Xavier School and the participation of two provincial teams – University of Cebu and University of Luzon-Dagupan City.