The National University (NU) Bulldogs trounced the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 80-69, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.
In the last minute of the third quarter, Fighting Maroon Jose Longa scored a trey to cut NU’s lead to six, 52-46.
Christian Moralde drove to the basket with 7:08 minutes left in the match, 55-50. Bulldog Matthew Salem hit a jumper in the 6:20 minute mark, 59-52.
UP ignited a 4-0 run with Andrew Harris and Andres Desiderio hitting back-to-back layups, 59-57. However, Harris drew a technical foul in the 4:16 minute mark. Salem then sank three free throws to give NU a five-point lead, 62-57.
Salem hit another basket with 3:17 minutes remaining, 67-59 followed by Jett Manuel’s back-to-back three-pointers, 73-65.
“Well, it was a grind for us. We expected that. We knew UP is gonna be a tough team to play. I reminded the boys especially after the first half that this team is capable of coming back. So good thing that other players stepped up,” said NU head coach Eric Altamirano.
Earlier, the Fighting Maroons took the lead in the first quarter, 6-11. John Gallego then snatched the lead in the opening minutes of the second frame, 16-15.
With 4:43 minutes remaining in the first half, Rodolfo Alejandro completed his three-point play, 23-19.
Salem led the Bulldogs with 26 points and seven rebounds, while Jess Diputado and Gallego added 12 markers apiece. Manuel led UP with 21 points, followed by Desiderio with 11 markers.
The Bulldogs currently hold a 4-2 win-loss card while the Fighting Maroons have a 1-6 record.
In the second match, defending champions Far Eastern University (FEU) escaped the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 79-72.
With 4:38 minutes remaining in the match, Prince Orizu broke away from his defenders and scored a dunk, 71-58.
Tiger Louie Vigil ignited a 6-0 blitz, sinking three consecutive jumpers to cut FEU’s lead to seven, 71-64.
Raymar Jose hit a layup off a steal and sank his bonus free throw with 2:33 minutes remaining in the last quarter, 74-64.
Vigil then scored a three-pointer in the last minute, keeping the hopes alive for UST, 75-69. But Marvin Lee, Tsutomu Tateishi, and Jon Sheriff drew fouls on Jose, Orizu, and Allen Trinidad, respectively, splitting all of their free throws, 78-69.
“I felt UST played tough on the defensive end. They made it really hard for us to score,” said FEU head coach Nash Racela.
Earlier in the first quarter, Trinidad completed a four-point play with FEU taking the lead, 10-0. Jose then banked his own trey, 13-0. Sheriff broke the silence for UST, scoring the first basket in the 6:51 minute mark, 13-2.
The Tigers closed the first canto with a 4-0 run with Lee and Renzo Subido notching baskets, 22-14.
Trinidad led FEU with 17 points, shooting five out of six three-pointers, while Jose showcased a double-double performance of 16 markers and 10 boards. Vigil paced UST with 16 points as Lee and Regie Basibas combined for 24 markers and 14 rebounds.
The FEU Tamaraws currently hold a 4-2 card, sharing the second spot with National University Bulldogs and Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, while the UST Growling Tigers sit at sixth place with a 4-2 record.