NU Bulldogs finish with a flourish to survive tough stand from UE Warriors
Alfred Aroga was a workhorse for the NU Bulldogs. Jaime Campos

NATIONAL University opened the season on a high note, beating University of the East, 72-66, on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 79 seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The Bulldogs struggled to shake off the Warriors all game but made the baskets when it mattered most, finishing on a 7-1 blast behind Alfred Aroga to put away their first win of the season.

NU got off to a rousing start, building a 14-4 lead in the first period but UE made it close until the end game.

Alfred Aroga topped the Bulldogs with 16 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks while J-Jay Alejandro added 13 markers.

“I expected it to be a very tough game. I felt UE is a Final Four team so we knew we were in for a tough battle. I think our defense bailed us out in the fourth,” said NU coach Eric Altamirano.

Rev Diputado broke a 65-65 tie with two free throws, and Aroga converted a lay-up to put NU ahead, 69-66, with UE failing to respond after that.

Bonbon Batiller had 18 points, while Alvin Pasaol had 10 points for the Red Warriors.

The scores:

NU (72)—Aroga 16, Alejandro 13, R. Diputado 9, Salem 7, Morido 7, Rangel 7, Abatayo 5, C. Diputado 3, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Pate 1, Mosqueda 0, Salim 0, Yu 0.

UE (66)—Batiller 18, Pasaol 10, De Leon 8, Penuela 7, Olayon 7, Varilla 5, Charcos 4, Abanto 2, Palma 2, Acuno 2, Gagate 1, Manalang 0, Armenion 0, Larupay 0, Derige 0, Bartolome 0.

Quarters: 16-15, 38-33, 47-46, 72-66.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports