NU strengthens Final Four bid, downs UST

By Jun Ray Navarres

National University keeps in step for a twice-to-beat advantage in UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament as they trample on struggling University of Santo Tomas, 76-65, Saturday afternoon.

With just a slender 35-28 lead after two quarters, NU returned from the dugout with their usual outputs to score their 10th win in the tournament.

“Medyo relaxed no’ng first half so no’ng second half we tried to convince the players na that’s not the way we treat the game. So noong second half medyo binago namin ulit ‘yong approach, binalik namin ‘yong usual,” said NU head coach Jeff Napa.

UST was held to just 10 points in the third quarter, ballooning the lead to 53-38.

The Tigers made a last-ditch effort to chip the lead down to 11, 57-46 but NU was quick to retaliate with PJ Palacielo’s post moves. Kean Baclaan followed the basket with another break away and-one play for a 62-46 advantage.

Despite outperforming NU in offensive rebounds, second chance points, and fastbreak points, UST was hopeless against the Bulldogs balanced scoring led by Baclaan with 13 points and five assists.

Patrick Wilson Yu was close behind Baclaan with 12 points while Palacielo ended the day with 10 points.

On the other hand, Christian Manaytay added 14 points and Nic Cabañero scored another double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds.

NU will be facing Adamson University next on Wednesday before the possible tie-breaking game against University of the Philippines to cap eliminations.

Meanwhile for UST, they will play UP on Wednesday before ending their season 86 run against Far Eastern University next weekend.

Featured photo courtesy of UAAP

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