MANILA, Philippines - The National University Bulldogs sent a strong statement to other UAAP schools by defeating the De La Salle University Green Archers, 64-54, in the finals of the FilOil Flying V Pre-Season Cup at The Arena in San Juan Tuesday.
|National U star Bobby Ray Parks Jr. shows off the FilOil Flying V Tournament trophy and his Most Valuable Player trophy. Parks scored 19 points to lead the Bulldogs past the La Salle Green Archers, 64-54, in the finals of the pre-season tournament.
The Bulldogs, who were participating in the FilOil finals for the first time, won all 11 of their games in the pre-season tournament.
Emmanuel Mbe keyed the Bulldogs' victory with 13 points and 13 rebounds while last season's UAAP Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks lived up to his billing with an all-around performance of 19 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
The Green Archers managed to keep the score close until the third quarter, coming as close as 41-42.
But Parks drained a jumper with just seconds left in the quarter, and the Bulldogs were able to lead by as much as nine points in the fourth quarter as the Archers' offense grew erratic.
La Salle threatened one last time in the final canto when LA Revilla drained a 3-pointer with a little over a minute to go to make it 53-60, but Parks responded with a 3-pointer of his own in NU's next possession.
A lay-up by Revilla kept La Salle's hopes alive, but Jeff Javillonar scored a lay-up off a broken play that gave NU a 62-54 lead with just over 30 seconds to go.
The Archers actually led 26-18 in the second quarter, but surrendered a 10-0 run to the Bulldogs in the final three minutes of the first half.
NU led 28-26 at halftime and never let up from that point.
Parks was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after leading the Bulldogs to an unbeaten campaign.
Both the Bulldogs and the Archers are among the pre-season favorites to make it to the Final Four of the UAAP Season 75, which gets underway on July 14.
Earlier, the Ateneo Blue Eagles got strong performances from their bench players in dispatching the San Beda Red Lions, 66-55, to wind up in third place.
The Blue Eagles, the tournament's defending champions, got another dominant performance from big man Greg Slaughter, who had 24 points and 11 rebounds.
After a close first half, the Blue Eagles pulled away in the second half thanks to reserve big man Justin Chua, who sparked Ateneo's offense even with Slaughter on the bench.
San Beda big man Ola Adeogun had 12 points and 9 rebounds, but struggled with foul trouble and could not be his usual aggressive self in the second half of the contest.
Before the championship game, Slaughter and Kiefer Ravena of Ateneo, Parks and Mbe of National U, and Norbert Torres of La Salle were named to the tournament's Mythical Five.
Mbe was also named Best Defensive Player of the Tournament.