NATIONAL University ended a two-game skid with a 91-83 win over lowly University of Sto. Tomas on Sunday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Issa Gaye and Matt Salem led NU in key runs in the second half as the Bulldogs improved their win-loss record to 4-6 and stayed in the race for the semifinals.
The Growling Tigers, who will miss the semifinals for a second straight season, are now at 0-10.
The Bulldogs won without coach Jamike Jarin, who is serving a suspension after being ejected for two technical fouls in the game against Ateneo four days ago.
NU assistant coach and two-time PBA Most Valuable Player Danny Ildefonso steered the Bulldogs to victory but said credit goes to the players.
"Thank you sa mga players ko. May instruction kami pero sila pa rin ang maglalaro para sa amin," said Ildefonso.
Gaye and Salem had22 points each, with Salem also grabbing 10 rebounds.
The Bulldogs led by as many as 15 points in the game.
The duo led a 14-2 run in the third period to turn a 55-56 deficit into a 69-58 lead that was sliced to eight on a triple by Oliver De Guzman to end the quarter.
NU continued its onslaught as Salem scored a three-point play on a dunk, 80-65, with seven minutes to play.
Gaye ended a UST run with a putback with three minutes left in the game to increase NU's lead to seven, 88-81.
Steve Akomo had 16 points and 12 rebounds for UST, which led by as many as seven points.
Marvin Lee had 15 points for UST.
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.
Quarterscores: 24-21; 40-43; 69-61; 91-83.