FilOil: Baclaan scores 26 as National U keeps Ateneo winless


Posted at May 25 2023 07:13 PM

NU's Kean Baclaan. Handout photo
NU's Kean Baclaan. Handout photo

Kean Baclaan waxed hot all game long to tow National University past Ateneo de Manila University, 76-69, in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup Thursday at the Filoil EcoOil Center in San Juan.

The 5-foot-10 playmaker fired nine of his 26 points in the Bulldogs’ 20-8 burst in the first seven minutes. Just as the Blue Eagles made a run to as near as 22-26, head coach Tab Baldwin was ejected after getting slapped with two technical fouls in succession for continuous complaining.

Still, the UAAP champions showed their poise and even tied the tally at 57-all late in the third quarter before Baclaan's buzzer-beating trey over Sean Quitevis detonated a 12-4 blast that re-established a 69-61 advantage in National U's favor with five minutes remaining.

"Far from satisfied pa rin kami. Siyempre, nandito kami sa preseason para ma-perfect namin kung anong gusto naming mangyari. Luckily, kahit papaano, willing to step up ang mga players today," said head coach Jeff Napa following their second straight win.

Ateneo again threatened at 66-72 with 2:30 to go until two straight inside hits from John Lloyd Clemente and Mike Malonzo kept them at bay once and for all. 

Malonzo wound up with eight points and eight rebounds, while Clemente ended with seven points to flank Baclaan who collected six assists and five rebounds as well.

"Alam naman ng players ko, never ako nasa-satisfy sa kung ano mang performance nila. Kumbaga, 'di pa naman ito yung nilu-look forward namin. Marami pa," said Napa after they improved to 3-1 in Group II of the premiere preseason.

Jared Brown topped the scoring column for the Blue Eagles with 13 points, as Jason Credo and Kai Ballungay chipped in 10 points apiece. 

Now at 0-2, they turn their attention to a rivalry game against De La Salle University on Sunday still at the same venue.