UAAP: Bulldogs survive UP to end round one on winning note, 77-70

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 8) — The National University (NU) Bulldogs ensured that they ended the first round on a high after beating the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, 77-70, in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) on Sunday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Matt Salem registered his season-high of 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs, while import Issa Gaye added 13 markers.

With guard Jun Manzo going down with an injury in the third frame, the Fighting Maroons had more than just a 56-53 deficit to overcome going into the final quarter.

After trying to defend a 60-58 advantage, UP conceded a 7-0 run to gift the Bulldogs a 65-60 deficit midway the payoff period.

The Fighting Maroons were able to tie the game, 70-all, with 1:34 left on the clock after Paul Desiderio and Ibrahim Outtara combined to produce a 5-0 rally.

But the Bulldogs struck back with a 5-0 burst of their own, with JayJay Alejandro draining a deuce and Salem sinking a dagger triple with 45 seconds left to play.

NU were able to force a turnover off in the succeeding UP inbound play, and prevent them from scoring threatening the Bulldogs' advantage.

Paul Desiderio paced UP with 15 markers.

After the game, NU coach Jamike Jarin took time to praise both Salem and Gaye for their effort.

"I just want to again commend the fighting heart of these two young men (Salem and Gare) seated beside me," Jarin said. "I personally just have no words how to describe these two men. They were a big factor in today's victory."

"We're just happy right now that after 40 minutes of basketball that we came out lucky and that we got the game," Jarin added.

Both the Bulldogs and the Fighting Maroons end the first round with identical 3-4 records.

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