NU ends skid, holds off late UST rally
National University snapped its two-game losing skid, but not before weathering a furious rally from University of Santo Tomas, 75-68, Sunday in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Bulldogs led by as much as 25, 69-44 in the third frame, but the Growling Tigers came back thanks to a 22-2 run that trimmed the deficit to as low as seven, 71-64, after a tough Marvin Lee drive with 1:11 remaining.
Unfortunately for UST, its run fell short as Lee fouled Jay Alejandro shooting a three, which was coupled with a William Afoakwah turnover that took the air out of the Tigers.
“It was an ugly fourth quarter for us,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano as the Bulldogs only mustered six points in the payoff period.
“For some reason, we lost our aggressiveness, we became tentative, and we started playing not to lose. We had a big lead and we looked like we didn’t know how to manage it. It’s a lesson for a young team like us, that we have to learn how to work on finishing games.”
Alejandro had a field day from the free throw line, going 11-of-13 from the stripe to wind up with 16 points and six rebounds.
Matt Salem added a double-double with 14 markers and 10 rebounds, while Mehd Salim got 11 points and five boards.
Alfred Aroga had 10 in the win, as the Bulldogs ended their losing streak to improve to 3-2.
“The boys bounced back, they were really determined in this game and it showed in the first three quarters,” said Altamirano. “Good thing we had a big lead going to the fourth, but in our coming games, we cannot afford to do that again.”
Louie Vigil topped UST (2-3) with 17 points and five rebounds, while Jamil Sheriff had 16 markers and seven boards in the loss.
NU 75 – Alejandro 16, Salem 14, Salim 11, Aroga 10, R. Diputado 8, Aquino 5, Mosqueda 5, Gallego 2, C. Diputado 2, Abatayo 2, Morido 0, Sinclair 0, Pate 0, Yu 0, Rangel 0.
UST 68 – Vigil 17, Sheriff 16, Lee 8, Afoakwah 7, Subido 6, Lao 5, Basibas 4, Macasaet 2, Caunan 2, Huang 1, Faundo 0, De Guzman 0, Arana 0
Quarters: 27-15, 46-29, 69-49, 75-68
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