NU puts down UST uprising, returns to winning form
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 25, 2016 07:11 PM
PULLING THROUGH. J-Jay Alejandro showed steady hands from the line to help NU stave off UST.
Coach Eric Altamirano did not hold anything back in expressing his disappointment even though National University finally got back on track in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
“It was an ugly fourth quarter for us,” he said.
No matter how ugly it was, however, the Bulldogs still had more than enough to pull off a wire-to-wire 75-68 win against University of Sto. Tomas on Sunday at the MOA Arena.
NU was in control right from tip-off behind J-Jay Alejandro who scored all but five of his 16 points in the first half. Their lead ballooned to as big as 25, 69-44, late in the third quarter.
It was at that point, however, that the Growling Tigers came alive and poured in 16 unanswered points to narrow the margin to 60-69 inside the last three minutes. They came even closer at 66-73 and had another defensive stop only to see Ghanaian Trupro Afoakwah throw the ball away following a rebound.
Free throws from Alejandro then finished the job for the Bulldogs who put a stop to their losing skid and rose back to 3-2. “Good thing we had a big lead coming into the fourth. We knew UST was gonna make a run, but the boys bounced back,” Altamirano said.
The NU team captain also collared six rebounds while Matt Salem posted a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double as they barged their way back into a share of second.
Even with the bounce back, Altamirano said they still have to play much better if they are to reclaim their place among the contenders. “In the coming games, we cannot afford to do that again,” he said.
For the Tigers, it was Louie Vigil who showed the way with 17 points. He did not get for himself a birthday gift, however, as his team dropped to 2-3.
NU 75 – Alejandro 16, Salem 14, Salim 11, Aroga 10, Diputado R 8, Aquino 5, Mosqueda 5, Gallego 2, Diputado C 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
QUARTER SCORES: 27-15, 46-29, 69-49, 75-68
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