(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
2 p.m. – UST vs UE
4 p.m. – UP vs Ateneo
JJ Alejandro put on a show in the fourth period to help National University stay alive in the UAAP basketball tournament with a masterful 81-73 victory over fifth seed La Salle yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Trailing by two, 53-51, early in the fourth period Alejandro scored 14 straight points, including three rainbow shots to push the Bulldogs into the driver’s seat, 65-58, with 5:51 left in the game.
The former Mapua Red Robin spiked his fourth quarter eruption with a three point play to give the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the game, 71-62 with 3:18 remaining in the game.
The Green Archers had one more fight left in them as they were able to cut the lead to just two, 75-73 following a Thomas Torres three pointer with 44 seconds left in the game.
However, Alfred Aroga responded with a three-point play with 40 seconds left as the Archers improved to 5-7 and move half a game behind La Salle which is now toting a 5-6 record.
“Everytime he (Alejandro) plays well for us, it’s a lot easier for us. Sometimes our defense is there but we lack the offensive firepower. Everytime he plays like that it makes it easier for us,” said National University coach Eric Altamirano.
“I was very proud of the boys with how we responded. I saw the resiliency of the boys. We were able to regroup and get back in the game,” he added.
Alejandro in total finished with a career high 25 points, making eight of his 13 shots. Pao Javelona added 14 points and five rebounds.
In the first game, Far Eastern University once again played with fire but somehow avoided getting burnt in the end as it outlasted Adamson University, 82-69.
The Tamaraws improved to 10-1, moving just a win away from clinching the first twice-to-beat advantage in the tournament.
Leading comfortably for most of the game, the Falcons opened the fourth period with a 14-2 run behind the hot shooting of Jerome Garcia to trim the lead down to four, 68-64 with 6:14 remaining in the game.
But showing the composure that have steered them to big victories in most of their rallies, the Tamaraws responded with a backbreaking 12-0 run of their own.
Displaying their depth, five different players contributed in that run as they suddenly opened an 80-64 with three minutes left following a Raymar Jose lay-up.
“When Adamson made a run and nagkaron ng timeout, I didn’t even talk to the players. I held them responsible for the run of Adamson and hinintay na namin na gumawa sila ng paraan. They were able to talk to each other and all of a sudden we got the lead again,” said FEU coach Nash Racela.
Another big thing that his boys did today was stop Papi Sarr.
The last time these two teams faced, Sarr torched them for 26 points and 22 rebounds, with the Falcons almost stealing a victory in that match.
But the Tamaraws came into the match prepared as they limited Sarr to just four points and eight rebounds, limiting his touches and forcing him to turn the ball over four times.
“Last game, Sarr had 26 and 22. We really focused on him, we had four or five games na nagmatch-up sa kanila kanina. We were satisfied that we were able to execute the defensive game plan on Sarr,” Racela added.
FEU 82 – Ru. Escoto 13, Jose 12, Belo 10, Pogoy 9, Tolomia 9, Arong 7, Inigo 7, Orizu 7, Ri. Escoto 4, K. Holmqvist 2, Trinidad 2, Comboy 0, Dennison 0, Ebona 0, S. Holmqvist 0, Tamsi 0
ADU 69 – J. Garcia 16, Nalos 15, Tungcab 10, Bernardo 10, Polican 6, Sarr 4, Villanueva 3, Capote 2, Ochea 2, C. Garcia 1, Camacho 0, Escalambre 0, Fernandez 0, Margallo 0
Quarters: 23-18; 43-33; 66-50; 82-69
NU 81 – Alejandro 25, Javellona 14, Aroga 7, Alolino 7, Javillonar 7, Neypes 7, Salim 6, Abatayo 4, Diputado 2, Morido 2
LA SALLE 73 – Teng 25, Caracut 18, Perkins 10, Torres 8, Rivero 5, Torralba 4, Navarro 3, Trater 0, Langston 0, Muyang 0
Quarters: 14-10; 32-30; 49-53; 81-73