Jolo Manansala shows way as NU ends jinx vs Ateneo 

NIKOLE JAVIER

No matter what happens, UAAP Season 85 will be another season to remember for National University.

The Bulldogs, for one, snapped their 10-game losing streak to the many-time champions Ateneo Eagles Wednesday night, Nov. 2, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. 

Thanks to the brilliant showing Jolo Manansala, the Bulldogs downed the Eagles, 78-74, to get back on the winning track as they ended their two-game slide.

The high-leaping Manansala finished in double-double performance of 17 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs improved to 6-3, exchanging places with the Eagles who slipped to 5-3.

Manansala’s biggest play came in the crunch when he shattered a 72-all count with a power play before Mike Malonzo swatted Dave Ildefonso’s shot in the ensuing play.

Ateneo then sent Kean Baclaan to the line, but the NU player split his freebies, before Malonzo put another defensive stop. He tipped Andrade’s inbound to the latter while he was still out of bounds to regain the possession.

Malonzo was then put to test at the line, splitting his charities as well, 76-72, with 15.5 ticks to go before Ange Kouame made a layup with 5.1 seconds left.

But Patrick Yu iced the game, going 2-of-2 from the free throw line for the Bulldogs’ victory.

The Bulldogs relied on a huge 27-9 second-quarter finish to keep themselves afloat against the Blue Eagles’ 28-15 response in the third. 

It was the first time since Season 79 in Sept. 2016 that the Bulldogs came out on top of the Blue Eagles. 

“At last, napunta rin sa amin ‘yong swerte. Kumbaga, for the past few games, although we work hard ‘yon lang napupunta doon sa kabila lagi. Still, happy ako dahil nag-live up sa challenge na naman tong mga batang to,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa. 

NU 78 ­ Manansala 17, Baclaan 10, Clemente 9, John 8, Yu 6, Minerva 6, Malonzo 5, Enriquez 5, Palacielo 4, Figueroa 3, Galinato 3, Mahinay 2, Tibayan 0, Tulabut 0.

ATENEO 74 ­ Andrade 21, Ballungay 15, Ildefonso 14, Garcia 6, Koon 4, Lazaro 4, Chiu 3, Gomez 3, Kouame 2, Padrigao 2, Quitevis 0.

Quarters: 14-20, 41-29, 56-57, 78-74.