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NU sends UST crashing down with an emphatic takedown

Issa Gaye and NU shut down and became the third team to sweep UST.
By Kevin Estrada

SAN JUAN -- National U and UST trade baskets and runs all throughout the game until the latter prevailed, 91-83 in the UAAP men's Basketball wars Sunday afternoon at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Thanks to a second half breakaway, the Bulldogs moved to within two games below .500 at 4-6 and dragged the Tigers further down to hell with its tenth straight loss and was eliminate from postseason contention in the process.

Issa Gaye and Matt Salem fired 22 points each to give stand-in mentor Danny Ildefonso a precious win in his head coaching debut, filling in for the suspended Jamike Jarin.

Salem then collared 10 boards for a double-double, with Gaye blocked a game-high 8 shots to sweep the Tigers this season.

Steve Akomo had 13 of his team-high 16 in the first half but he, along with his team, went missing in the second half to pile on the pressure on the beleaguered Boy Sablan.

NU started strong as they lead by as much as seven before going into the intermission with a three-point lead.

In the second frame, NU led by as much as 8, 31-23 with six minutes left in the first half.

However, UST came from five points down in the final 2:13 to take the lead on an 8-0 run, with Zach Huang and Steve Akomo scored consecutively to take a 43-40 edge at the half.

Gaye went to work in the third, scoring 10 points in third period as NU overturned a seven point deficit early in the period with the Bulldogs prevailed in the shootout to lead by eight.

With the season in tatters, the growl-less Tigers' day went from bad to worse, no thanks to technicals by Lee and an unsportsmanlike foul slapped to Jordan Sta. Ana in the same quarter when NU made the breakaway.

The Bulldogs then extended their lead to 15, 80-65 in the final period courtesy of Salem's three point play with 7:29 to go, but UST came fighting to reduce the deficit to five with 3:39 to go.

But that was all she wrote as NU shut them down with their trademark defense, capping off with a Gaye block on Eric Caunan in the final minute.

The Scores

NU 91 – Gaye 22, Salem 22, Alejandro 10, Abatayo 10, Joson 7, Mosqueda 5, Bartlett 5, Yu 5, Diputado 3, Aquino 2, Tibayan 0, Morido 0, Cauilan 0

UST 83 – Akomo 16, Lee 15, De Guzman 14, Caunan 11, Faundo 8, Sta. Ana 6, Huang 6, Escalambre 3, Basibas 2, Soriano 2, Romero 0, Macasaet 0

Quarter Scores: 24-21, 40-43, 67-58, 91-83

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada