UNIVERSITY of the Philippines moved to joint fifth with a 71-66 victory over skidding National University in the UAAP Season 79 basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons arrested a two-game skid to improve its win-loss record to 4-8 while handing the Bulldogs their sixth straight loss.
UP joined NU in fifth place, just a spot below Adamson, although the Falcons at 5-5 have two games in hand.
Jett Manuel scattered 19 points on top of five rebounds, two assists, and two steals for the Fighting Maroons.
UP has surpassed its three-win total last year, and has a chance to eclipse the four victories of 2006 with two games to play this season.
"We've been praying really hard, I said 'kailan kami lalampas ng tatlong panalo?" said UP coach Bo Perasol.
"We are happy we exceeded the our three-game goal before the season. Sabi namin lumampas kami sa tatlo but knowing Jett here, he has other things in his mind. We have to give glory to god for this game."
Gelo Vito scored 15 points, Javier Gomez De Liano had 13, and Paul Desiderio added 11 for the Maroons, who repulsed a late-game NU fightback led by Jay-J Alejandro.
Alejandro broke the Bulldogs' dry spell in the fourth period and dropped 10 straight points as NU erased a 14-point deficit inside the final four minutes. His last two points came with 33.9 ticks to go, slicing the lead to four, 70-66.
Mohammad Salim's left-handed layup rimmed out and Gomez De Liano hit one from the free throw line with six ticks left to seal the win.
Alejandro wound up with 23 points, 15 coming in the fourth period.
UP 71 – Manuel 19, Vito 15, Gomez de Liano 13, Desiderio 11, Moralde 6, Jaboneta 3, Dario 2, Webb 2, Prado 0, Lim 0, Asilum 0, Longa 0, Lao 0, Romero 0, Espanola 0, Harris 0
NU 66 – Alejandro 23, Salem 12, Diputado R 7, Pate 5, Morido 4, Gallego 4, Salim 3, Diputado C 3, Go 3, Aroga 2, Mosqueda 0, Abatayo 0
Quarterscores: 12-21; 29-31; 45-41; 71-66