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Salem hits career game as Bulldogs crush Maroons

By Ricky Manliguis 
Matt Salem with his best game yet to lift NU past UP (File/ Denver Lachica)

 PASAY CITY-- Matt Salem has found his new role in National University. 

Continuing his brilliant form as of late, Salem produced a career-best 26 points to power the Bulldogs to an 80-69 thrashing of the University of the Philippines in Saturday's UAAP Season LXXIX basketball action at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

As in its win against UST last week, the Sampaloc-based squad nearly squandered a double-digit lead, but recovered in time behind the exploits of the transferee bigman to notch its second straight victory and a share of second place with idle Ateneo at 4-2. 

The Maroons had to claw back from a 13-point deficit to come within a basket, 57-59, on the 4:16 mark of the pay-off period. 

But back-to-back fouls by UP's Andrew Harris, including a technical for resentment to a call, proved to be the spark NU needed, as Salem connived with guards Rev Diputado and JV Gallego and slotman Alfred Aroga in an 11-2 finishing kick en route to victory. 

Salem, who spent two years in La Salle, finished with a 9-of-13 clip from the field on top of seven rebounds, a great follow up to his 14-point, 10-rebound outing the last time out. Diputado and the rookie Gallego both accounted for 12 points. 

Coach Eric Altamirano's wards won despite the lacklustre performances of veterans Aroga and J-Jay Alejandro, who struggled with seven points apiece. 

UP suffered its fourth succesive defeat to fall to 1-6. Jett Manuel paced the team with 21 markers, while Paul Desiderio chipped in 11. 

 The scores: 

NU 80 — Salem 26, R. Diputado 12, Gallego 12, Alejandro 7, Aroga 7, Mosqueda 5, Pate 5, Salim 4, Morido 2, Aquino 0, C. Diputado 0, Abatayo 0, Rangel 0, Sinclair 0. 

UP 69 — Manuel 21, Desiderio 11, Moralde 8, Espanola 5, Prado 4, Webb 4, Lao 4, Vito 3, Longa 3, Harris 2, Asilum 2, Jaboneta 2, Lim 0, Dario 0, Romero 0, Gomez De Liano 0. 

Quarterscores: 12-15; 35-24; 52-46; 80-69.

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