NATIONAL University responded to a De La Salle fightback with a bigger run of its own to wrap up a 63-58 victory on Sunday and break its two-game losing slump at the end of the first round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Bobby Ray Parks scored eight of his 20 points in a pivotal fourth period that saw the Bulldogs score the first 10 points of the quarter and build another double-digit lead after the Green Archers had come storming back from an 11-point deficit.
The Bulldogs improved to 4-3 win-loss to grab a share of second place with University of Santo Tomas behind unbeaten leader Far Eastern University.
“I’m really proud of the boys. I felt that we played intelligent basketball, we played smart, and we executed the game plan very well,” Altamirano said.
“We were coming off two straight losses but I see the team playing together,” he added.
With the defeat, La Salle dipped to 3-4 in a three-way tie for fifth with Ateneo and Adamson.
After trailing by 11 points at the end of the first period, La Salle came storming back with a 17-10 third quarter to trail by only a point, 42-43.
But Parks hit back-to-back three-pointers and scored on a fastbreak for a 52-43 lead. The Bulldogs' lead soon swelled to 59-48 on a short stab by Emmanuel Mbe.
Arnold Van Opstal and Thomas Torres combined for eight points to trim the deficit to three points, 59-56, but Gelo Alolino sealed the victory with two free throws, 61-56.
Van Opstal had 14 markers for the Green Archers, who also had 11 points from Almond Vosotros.
NU (63) – Parks 20, Mbe 12, Villamor 10, Alolino 9, Neypes 6, Rosario 4, Alejandro 3, Rono 0, Perez 0, Khobuntin 0, Javillonar 0, Javelona 0.
DLSU (56) – Van Opstal 14, Vosotros 11, Teng 9, T. Torres 7, Perkins 6, Salem 5, N. Torres 2, Revilla 2, Tampus 0, De La Paz 0.
Quarterscores: 20-9; 33-25; 43-42; 63-56.