THE National University Bulldogs put an end to the impressive winning run of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers in UAAP Season 81 after beating the latter, 69-61, in league action on Sunday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Showing strong resolve to fight off a gallant stand by erstwhile streaking UST, NU (3-6) got back on the winning track in the ongoing University Athletic Association of the Philippines tournament and stayed in contention for the playoffs while stopping the Tigers’ (4-5) winning ascent to three games.
The two teams swung at each other early, fighting to an 8-8 count midway into the opening frame.
NU, however, would outscore UST, 7-3, led by Troy Rike and Shaun Ildefonso, the rest of the way to hold a 15-11 lead after the first 10 minutes.
The Tigers opened the second quarter strong with Renzo Subido and Marvin Lee showing the way.
They were able to pull even, 23-all, with 6:10 to go in the period before seizing the lead altogether, 28-26, two minutes later.
But the Bulldogs would regain their footing, regaining the lead and staying ahead heading into the break, 33-32.
NU sustained its fine play to begin the third canto as it opened things with an 8-2 run to build a 41-34 advantage by the 6:30 mark.
Rookies CJ Cansino and Germy Mahinay tried to rally UST back but NU held on to carry a 53-42 advantage entering the final quarter.
UST tried to make up for lost ground to start the payoff quarter.
Subido towed the Tigers to within two points, 55-53, with seven minutes left in the game.
A Rev Diputado basket gave the Bulldogs more breathing space, 57-53, at the 6:46 mark.
Lee though pushed UST to one point away, 57-56, with a triple with five minutes to go.
A back and forth ensued between the two teams went before Dave Ildefonso started an NU run that gave the Bulldogs a 65-58 lead with 2:58 remaining on the clock.
Lee hit a triple with 2:03 left to narrow the gap, 65-61, but UST would not go near after that as NU strung up four straight points after, care of John Clemente and Issa Gaye, to seal the victory.
Dave Ildefonso paced the Bulldogs with 16 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
Rike had 13 points and seven boards while Clemente added 12 points.
Subido, meanwhile, was the high point man for UST with 18 points followed by Lee with 12.
Zach Huang ended up with 11 points and nine rebounds while Cansino had eight points, 18 rebounds and five assists for the Tigers.
NU next plays against league-leading Ateneo Blue Eagles (7-2) on Oct. 27 while UST faces off with tail-ending University of the East Red Warriors (1-7) on Oct. 28. — Michael Angelo S. Murillo