By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Reinhard Jumamoy is slowly getting into his zone and exploded at the most perfect time for the National University (NU) Bulldogs after leading them to a 65-61 victory over the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the ongoing UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament last November 4, 2023, held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The former UAAP juniors’ Most Valuable Player (MVP) led the offensive charge for the Bulldogs and played a vital role during their 13-point comeback victory.
Down by double-digits in the second half, the crafty leftie guard spearheaded a quick turn-around of events through his individual scoring and helped the Bulldogs get back into the game.
Jumamoy was unconscious from the field and kicked off his scoring spree with a perfect 8/8 shooting that put the whole NU crowd on their feet.
With eight minutes still left in the second period and the Bulldogs needing someone to step up offensively, the prized rookie answered the call and put up eight quick points to trim their deficit to just three points, 35-38, heading to the second half.
Despite entering the ball game as an off-the-bench player in the second half, Jumamoy picked up where he left off and continued to torch the Blue Eagles in the third quarter.
Jumamoy checked into the game with five minutes remaining in the third canto and was quick to make an impact after rifling a perfect dime to a trailing Omar John followed by a sweet floater and back-to-back three-pointers.
With his offensive consistency, the Bulldogs were able to keep the game close and were already in the driver’s seat in the final quarter.
Jake Figueroa, NU’s heart and soul in the frontcourt, then took matters into his own hands in the final crucial stretch of the nip-and-tuck affair.
Trailing by a point in the last two minutes, the veteran swingman knocked down a trifecta to help NU regain the advantage, 63-61.
Ateneo had the chance to answer back after pulling off a defensive stop but failed to convert on the other end, giving them no choice but to foul Figueroa who iced the game with two shots from the charity stripe.
Jumamoy dropped 21 big points on the Blue Eagles built from an 8/10 shooting from the field while Figueroa contributed 18 points, seven rebounds, and three steals.
Meanwhile, Ateneo got 11 points and nine rebounds from Joseph Obasa backstopped by Kai Ballungay who chipped in 10 points, five rebounds, and two steals.