Coming off a shootout against La Salle, the National University Bulldogs wore out the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 90-84, for their second win in the UAAP Men’s Basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Bulldogs enforced their frantic, up-and-down pace to start the match. UST, however, kept in step with the fast-paced action, finding holes in the NU full-court press. Neither squad managed to get a lead larger than three points in the first half, with UST pulling 15 points from forward Reggie Boy Basibas and NU getting four triples from captain Jjay Alejandro.
UST took full advantage of NU’s press defense in the third frame. Trading baskets to start, the Tigers got their bearings late, with NU bigman Issa Gaye on the bench. A late 8-0 UST, highlighted by three straight Basibas forays to the basket, blitz gave the Tigers a 73-68 lead with less than a minute remaining in the third period. NU went into the final period behind, 70-73.
The Tigers took major blows due to foul trouble in the final frame. The España squad fell into the penalty with 8:26 on the game clock. The resulting charities due to fouls allowed the Bulldogs to chip away at UST’s advantage and take an 87-80 lead with less than four minutes remaining. The Tigers tried to come back, but their two best scorers — Reggie Basibas and Jordan Sta. Ana — fouled out down the stretch. Bulldogs swingman Dave Yu put the result out of doubt, sealing the win with a triple to extend NU’s cushion to six, 90-84 with 1:44 left in the game.
“They (UST) were controlling the entire game. We just made a run late and got the win,” said NU head coach Jamike Jarin. “UST’s record doesn’t speak for the way they’ve been playing. We knew coming in that they were going to come out slugging to get a win.”
The Bulldogs coaxed the Tigers into 29 turnovers. They also ground UST’s 52 percent first-half shooting down to 43 by the end of the game.
Senegalese student-athlete Issa Gaye topped the Bulldogs with 17 points while grabbing 13 rebounds and swatting four blocks.
Basibas finished with 23 points, built on aggressive drives to the rim, to lead the Tigers. Sta. Ana added 14 markers.
NU will next face the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on Sunday, September 24, at 4:00pm. UST, on the other hand, look to snap out of their funk when they take on the Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Saturday, September 23 at 2:00pm. Both games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
NU 94 – Gaye 17, Yu 13, Alejandro 12, Mosqueda 11, Bartlett 9, Salem 7, Cauilan 5, Joson 4, Abatayo 4, Aquino 3, Morido 3, Diputado 3, Lastimosa 3, Flores 0, Tibayan 0, Rangel 0
UST 84 – Basibas 23, Sta. Ana 14, Faundo 9, Arana 8, Escalambre 8, Akomo 5, Lee 4, Huang 4, Macasaet 4, De Guzman 3, Kwawukumey 2, Caunan 0, Romero 0, Soriano 0, Lorenzana 0
Quarterscores: 25-24, 51-50, 70-73, 94-84