Bulldogs still barking as Salem regains shooting stroke

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 05, 2016 02:35 PM
Bulldogs still barking as Salem regains shooting stroke
NOW THAT I FOUND YOU. Matt Salem and NU are back into the win column - just in time to make a playoff push.

National University’s struggles were still very much apparent for two quarters on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

In fact, they needed an improbable shot by Matt Salem just to tie the tally at halftime.

Turns out, that was only a sign of things to come as Salem scored 11 of his 20 points in the last seven minutes to shoot the Bulldogs over University of the East, 64-52, and back onto the win column in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Losers in their last six games, NU was in dire need of a win to fan their flickering playoff hopes. “It’s been a long time, but we’re happy for this win,” coach Eric Altamirano expressed.

Now at 5-8, however, they have sent a statement that they remain alive and kicking. “We don’t know the significance of this win (in the playoff picture), but yung importante sa amin is we got back to the win column,” Altamirano said.

Much of that was thanks to their first-year forward who poured in nine points in the second quarter to help Altamirano’s wards recover from a measly nine-point opening salvo. It was also his buzzer-beating triple that tied the tally at 32 at halftime.

Still, the Bulldogs found themselves behind by four with 7:40 remaining before Salem’s couple of treys bookended a 15-0 burst that put them ahead, 64-50. “Matt was making shots while Jay (Alejandro) and Reggie (Morido) were creating for their teammates,” Altamirano said.

In all, the sweet-shooting big man had all but four points in what turned out to be the pivotal push that granted them their first win since October 1. He also outscored all of the Red Warriors who only mustered seven points in the entire final frame.

Alejandro added 10 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and three steals while rookie Chino Mosqueda contributed 11 points in his first start.

Alvin Pasaol had 10 points as the lone bright spot for UE who fell to 2-10.

BOX SCORES

NU 64 – Salem 20, Aroga 11, Mosqueda 11, Alejandro 10, Morido 6, Rangel 4, Diputado R 2, Yu 0, Salim 0, Diputado C 0, Pate 0

UE 52 – Pasaol 10, Manalang 7, Bartolome 6, Abanto 6, Varilla 5, Batiller 5, Derige 4, Charcos 3, Olayon 2, Gagate 2, Acuno 2, De Leon 0, Palma 0

QUARTER SCORES: 9-12, 32-32, 44-45, 64-52

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Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.

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