NATIONAL University closed in on the leaders in the Final Four chase after beating National University, 66-51, on Sunday in the UAAP Season 77 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Alfred Aroga finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs, whose record now stands at 8-4 win-loss slate for fourth place in the team standings.
“As what I’ve told the boys, we have to assert our identity and that starts from our defense. Everything has evolved and followed because it all started from our defense,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.
The Bulldogs remained in striking distance with third-running La Salle (9-3) but can still get past the top two teams Far Eastern University (10-2) and Ateneo (10-3) if they win their final two games against University of Santo Tomas on Wednesday and La Salle on Saturday.
“Ang goal lang namin is to at least win the games that we can win in order to qualify,” said Altamirano.
The win booted UST out of the Final Four chase.
The Bulldogs held a 29-17 lead at the half and Aroga’s dunk over Mark Juruena in the third quarter sparked the Bulldogs to a 43-25 lead to put the game away.
The Maroons slipped to 1-12 going into their final game of the season against winless Adamson on September 16.
NU (66) – Aroga 18, Alolino 9, Rosario 9, Khobuntin 9, Javelona 5, Celda 5, Perez 4, Diputado 3, Betayene 2, Alejandro 2, Yu 0, Neypes 0, Tansingco 0.
UP (51) – Reyes 13, Asilum 11, Gallarza 9, Dario 8, Juruena 4, Vito 2, Moralde 2, Lao 2, Harris 0, Gingerich 0, Lim 0.
Quarterscores: 15-8; 29-17; 50-32; 66-51.