MANILA, Philippines -- National University (NU) advanced to the semifinals of the 2022 FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup after pulling away for a 75-64 win against San Sebastian, Tuesday at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
The Bulldogs are still unscathed in the competition, racking up a ninth win in a row after having won all eight of their assignments in Group A to emerge as the top seed.
John Galinato led the way for NU with 19 points, while Jake Figueroa had 13 and RJ Minerva made all three of his three-pointers en route to 11 points.
The Bulldogs got the job done despite missing starters John Lloyd Clemente due to illness, and Steve Nash Enriquez due to a hamstring injury.
"Despite may mga injury, ready to step up. 'Yung mga bata, ready to battle. Despite some injuries, may nararamdaman, gusto lang nila ibigay ang best nila for their school," NU coach Jeff Napa said afterward.
The Golden Stags were within striking distance after the third period, 54-49, but NU opened the final frame with six unanswered points to post a 60-49 advantage.
A Milo Janao triple with under four minutes left made it a one-possession game, 63-60, but Figueroa responded with a clutch jumper on the other end to give the Bulldogs some breathing room.
That sparked a 12-4 finishing run for the Bulldogs, with Galinato's layup stretching the lead to double-digits again, 75-64, with just 45 seconds left.
"Wala 'yung starters namin, ready naman kami. Every opportunity na ibibigay ni Coach Jeff sa akin, tine-take advantage ko talaga," said Galinato.
The Bulldogs set up a semis showdown with fellow UAAP team Adamson University, after the Soaring Falcons routed Lyceum of the Philippines University earlier in the day.
Janao had 13 points and Rhinwil Yambing scored 11 in a losing effort for the Golden Stags.
NU 75 -- Galinato 19, Figueroa 13, Minerva 11, Casinillo 7, John 6, Manansala 5, Mahinay 4, Malonzo 3, Yu 3, Palacielo 2, Padrones 2.
SAN SEBASTIAN 64 -- Janao 13, Yambing 11, Escobido 8, Desoyo 7, Felebrico 7, Shanoda 5, Sumoda 4, Are 4, Cruz 2, Cosari 2, Suico 0, Calahat 0, Altamirano 0, Concha 0.
Quarters: 15-10, 33-29, 54-49, 75-64.