MANILA -- NU-Nazareth School scored its third straight - and fourth overall - championship in the 2023 Smart-NBTC National Finals after thwarting Fil-Nation Select-USA, 75-64, in the Division 1 Finals at Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday.
After a neck-and-neck first three quarters, the Bullpups went on a late fourth quarter surge to trounce the Fil-Americans and re-assert their dominance behind the heroics of Reinhard Jumamoy and RJ Colonia.
“We did not even think that this would be our fourth [title]. I just told the boys to treat this game like Gilas vs. USA. That was the fire that I used for them to get going in this game,” said first-year head coach Kevin de Castro.
“We’re blessed because somehow, we have a player like Reinhard who can lead the team. We went through defeats in the UAAP, we got one here in the NBTC and hopefully, he brings it to college.”
NUNS was dethroned in the recently-concluded UAAP 85 Boys Basketball Tournament, but didn't let lightning strike twice in this tournament.
Jumamoy, who has already committed to move up from the Bullpups to the Bulldogs, powered his side to victory with a triple-double performance of 16 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals.
His stellar performance throughout the tournament also earned him the Ato Badolato Most Outstanding Player (MOP) award.
With the score tied at 63-all in the final frame, Pervy Timbang got a wide open layup on a fastbreak, which was followed by a Colonia bucket that granted the Bullpups a four-point cushion, 67-63, with 2:40 minutes remaining.
Colonia, Jumamoy's running mate, wound up with a 23-point, 10-rebound double-double of his own, while Kurt Perciano also added 10 markers.
Jason Mandaquit Jr. was the high-point man for Fil-Nation Select with 16 markers and six boards. Evan Bayla also tallied a double-double in a losing effort with 13 markers and 10 boards.
Joining MOP Jumamoy in the Division 1 Mythical Team are Colonia, Mandaquit, and Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu's Jared Bahay and Raffy Celis.
The Division 2 Mythical Team is then bannered by MOP Earl Sapasap of champion Team Tarlac alongside Don Bosco-Dumaguete's Matthew Jucom, Ateneo's Lebron Nieto, Homegrown Australia's Kaden Puletua, and Doc Boleros-NCR's Sean Bondoc.