Riding the hot hands of Jjay Alejandro, the National University Bulldogs arrested their three-game skid, trouncing the College of Saint Benilde Blazers, 104-88, Sunday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
This is NU’s penultimate game for the elimination round, bringing them to a 4-3 slate in Group B to keep their playoff hopes alive. Saint Benilde, on the other hand, dropped to 1-7.
“San Sebastian and FEU are there, Adamson [University] is there also. Who wins against us will get fourth place, so we need to win,” shared NU head coach Jamike Jarin about their Wednesday encounter against the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
And it was Alejandro who blazed National U’s strong start, scoring 19 of his 25 points in the first half. He knocked down seven triples in the game while filling up the stat sheet with nine rebounds, five assists, and three steals. However, according to Jarin, it’s his errors that he needs to work on.
“I’m sure some of you will agree, but JJay is one of the best shooters in college right now,” Jarin said about his skipper, who had three turnovers in the game. “If he’s open for half a second, ninety percent he’s going to make it, but he still needs to do more and lessen the turnovers.”
NU led by as much as 21 points in the game, 87-66, with 9:16 left in the game, after a Dave Yu triple.
Yu added 12 points off the bench, while Matt Salem, Reggie Morido, and foreign student-athlete Issa Gaye chipped in 10 points each.
Benilde tried to make one last rally sparked by a coast-to-coast dunk by Clement Leutcheu. Back-to-back triples by Filipino-American guard Matthew Johnson sliced the lead to just 12, 95-83. However, two turnovers by JJ Domingo led to baskets by Morido and Anthony Sistoza, the latter a transferee from St. Clare, to turn back any momentum Benilde gained.
Johnson paced Benilde with 21 points, knocking down seven triples as well. Leutcheu finished with a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds to go along with three blocks.
NU (104) – Alejandro 25, Yu 12, Salem 10, Morido 10, Gaye 10, Bartlett 9, Diputado 9, Aquino 5, Tibayan 3, Cauilan 3, Flores 2, Rangel 2, Sistoza 2, Mosqueda 2, Lastimosa 0, Galvelo 0, Go 0, Abatayo 0.
CSB (88) – Johnson 21, Leutcheu 15, Haruna 9, Young 8, Belgica 7, Bunyi 7, Dixon 5, Domingo JJ 5, Naboa 4, San Juan 3, Pili 2, Velasco 2, Sta. Maria 0, Domingo JS 0, Suarez 0.
Quarterscores: 27-25, 56-44, 84-66, 104-88.