By Michael Angelo S. Murillo
THE National University Bulldogs staved off a major meltdown in UAAP Season 82 action on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, defeating the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 85-79, in overtime to book their second win in the tournament.
Lost their grip on an 18-point lead in the third period, the Bulldogs (2-7) had to dig deep after being forced to overdrive by the Tamaraws (4-5) to give what has been a rough University Athletic Association of the Philippines campaign for them some needed boost.
Also winning yesterday were the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, who routed the erstwhile rolling University of the East Red Warriors, 101-73, to stop a two-game losing skid.
Dave Ildefonso starred for NU in its salvage job over FEU, tallying a double-double of 27 points and 11 rebounds.
John Lloyd Clemente also stepped up for the Bulldogs, finishing with 15 points, including a couple of triples at the end of regulation and in OT to help his team to be in a position to win.
The Bulldogs were holding a comfortable 18-point, 53-35, in the third before the Tamaraws made their move back.
FEU, on the lead of Alec Stockton and Royce Alforque, outscored NU, 20-3, in the first eight minutes of the final canto to take a 67-65 lead.
But the Bulldogs were able to survive the onslaught by holding on and seeing the game go into overtime.
In the extra period, NU was able to redeem itself, churning out eight straight points in the early goings to hold a 79-71 lead, but the Tamaraws refused to quit, with Ken Tuffin cutting the lead down to four, 83-79, with 24.7 ticks left.
They would not get any closer than that though as the Bulldogs went for the closeout after.
Incidentally, with the win, NU swept FEU in their season series, after also claiming their first-round encounter, 61-39, on Sept. 25.
“We just came back to basics. What was the formula? Going back to basics and staying in level one,” said NU coach Jamike Jarin after their win.
For FEU, the loss stopped for it a two-game ascent and dropped it outside of the top four as of the moment.
Barkley Ebona paced the team against NU with 15 points and 12 rebounds with Alforque and Ino Comboy adding 11 points each.
UST HALTS SKID
Meanwhile in the second game, the Tigers (5-4) put an end to their two-game slide with a dominant showing over the Warriors (3-6).
Firing on all cylinders right from the get-go and contributions coming from different sources, UST was just a handful for UE, with the game already decided as early as the first half and the Tigers on top, 55-29.
Zach Huang led the UST juggernaut with 22 points, going 6-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Soulemane Chabi Yo also had 22 points to go along with 14 rebounds with Sherwin Concepcion and Brent Paraiso adding 10 points each.
For UE, which saw its winning run stopped at two, it was Alex Diakhite who led with 24 points, followed by Neil Tolentino with 11 and Philip Manalang and Rey Suerte with 10 apiece.