UAAP: La Salle outguns NU Bulldogs in high-scoring affair, 115-109

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — The La Salle Green Archers clawed past the NU Bulldogs, 115-109, at the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 80.

Ricci Rivero paced La Salle with 21 points, while Aljun Melecio and Jolo Go chipped in with 20 and 19, respectively.

A high-scoring, free-flowing first half saw both teams executing their offense with regularity.

La Salle built themselves a 60-50 lead midway through the second frame, but the Bulldogs battled back to reduce the deficit to 65-61 at the halfway mark.

In the third quarter, the Bulldogs immediately took La Salle to task, blitzing them with a 19-4 flurry that saw them steal a 80-69 cushion.

But it was the defending champions that entered the final period stronger, going closing out the third quarter with a 22-8 run to lead 91-88.

With 2:34 left to play the two schools were locked level at 106-all, but it was the defending champions that went on a decisive 5-1 spurt to lead 112-107 with 25 ticks left on the clock.

NU's Issa Gaye got a quick bucket to reduce the deficit to 112-109 with 24 seconds left in regulation but Melecio padded the Lasallian lead with a free throw, 113-109, with 17.4 ticks before the final whistle.

That was as close as the Bulldogs came, as La Salle took home their second consecutive victory.

The win sees the Green Archers improve their win-loss slate to 2-0, while NU slides down to 1-1.

Jordan Bartlett sizzled with 23 markers in the losing effort for the Bulldogs.

La Salle head coach Aldin Ayo was pleased with the way his team played in the face of NU's runs.

"That was a good game," Ayo said. "We showed a lot of tenacity, we were resilient. The composure was there, we were able to execute our plays especially in the end game."

La Salle will face the Adamson Falcons on Wednesday, while NU looks to get back on the winning track when they play UST on the same day.