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Bulldogs buck slow start to trounce Tigers

By Ivan Saldajeno

National University had an early double-digit deficit but fought back the rest of the way to defeat UST, 75-64, in the nightcap of the UAAP men's basketball games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Bulldogs trailed, 4-14, midway into the first quarter but slowly chipped the deficit away and eventually took a 32-25 lead with over four minutes left in the second period.

The Growling Tigers, however, stayed in the game and even equalized, 42-all, on a Louie Vigil triple with 6:55 left in the third frame.

NU threatened to pull away anew as it opened a 58-49 advantage later in the quarter, but nine straight UST points spanning into the fourth period tied the game again at 58 apiece with 7:50 remaining in the final canto.

The Bulldogs finally broke loose for good after launching a 17-6 run the rest of the way for their ninth win against four losses, tying the De La Salle Green Archers, who lost to the UE Red Warriors earlier in the day, for third place.

(Related: UE crawls back late to beat La Salle in crucial tiff)

Both NU and La Salle will meet on Saturday night at the same venue to decide who will finish the eliminations at the third spot and claim an outright Final Four berth.

The also-ran Growling Tigers, on the other hand, slipped further to 5-8.

Gelo Alolino led five NU players in double figures with 14 points along with three rebounds and three assists.

Reden Celda had a breakout game of 13 markers on 5-of-7 shooting to help Alolino in the Bulldogs' offense.

Karim Abdul made 15 points, nine rebounds, five blocks, and five steals, while Ed Daquioag added 13 points, five assists, and three steals for UST.

Box Scores:

NU 75-Alolino 14, Celda 13, Khobuntin 12, Javelona 11, Rosario 10, Diputado 5, Aroga 4, Betayene 4, Perez 2, Atangan 0, Alejandro 0

UST 64-Abdul 15, Daquioag 13, Subido 11, Mariano 9, Vigil 7, Sheriff 4, Lao 3, Pe 2, Lo 0, Faundo 0, Gayosa 0, Basibas 0

Quarterscores: 18-19, 40-37, 58-54, 75-64
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