For the first time in a decade, UP has reached the 4-win mark in a season, as the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons defeated the skidding National University Bulldogs, 71-66 on Wednesday in the UAAP 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jett Manuel led the way for UP with 19 points. Gelo Vito had an efficient game, finishing with 15 points on a 6/8 shooting, including 3 triples and Paul Desiderio added 11.
UP improved their record at 4-8 at the fifth spot together with NU.
NU started the game strong, as the first quarter ended, 21-12 in favor of the Bulldogs. But UP fought back during the second quarter, thanks to the efforts of Jett Manuel as the first half ended, 31-29 in favor of NU.
The tide of the game shifted during the third quarter, which ended 45-41, now in favor of the Fighting Maroons. The lead of UP actually ballooned during the fourth quarter but NU fought back, but once again, it was a case of too little, too late for the Bulldogs.
Jay Jay Alejandro finished with 23 points while Matt Salem chipped in 12 markers as the Bulldogs suffers its sixth straight loss.
After a strong start during the early parts of the season, the on-court struggles of the Bulldogs continues to pile up, and missing the Final Four completely is now a reality for them.
UP 71 – Manuel 19, Vito 15, Gomez de Liano 13, Desiderio 11, Moralde 6, Jaboneta 3, Dario 2, Webb 2, Prado 0, Lim 0, Asilum 0, Longa 0, Lao 0, Romero 0, Espanola 0, Harris 0
NU 66 – Alejandro 23, Salem 12, Diputado R 7, Pate 5, Morido 4, Gallego 4, Salim 3, Diputado C 3, Go 3, Aroga 2, Mosqueda 0, Abatayo 0
QUARTER SCORES: 12-21, 29-31, 45-41, 71-66