National University ended a longstanding skid after outdueling last year’s finalists University of the East 70-63 Saturday in the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The much improved Bulldogs, who upped their record to 2-2, put a halt to a 14-game slide against the Red Warriors which dates back to UAAP Season 65 in 2002.
NU stifled a usually high-octane UE offense in the early goings and broke loose to build a 20-point margin in the opening minutes of the third periodbefore several miscues dampened its lead to as low as four, 59-55 with still 4:19 left in the contest.
But the Bulldogs answered with an 8-2 spurt capped by two free-throws from Joseph Terso to extend their lead back to double-digits, 67-57 with under a minute remaining.
“We could’ve won by double-digits. I’m not that happy but, I’m okay with it and I have to be contented because we won and that’s the important thing for me,” said NU Coach Eric Gonzales.
Glenn Khobuntin had a team-high13 points while Cameroonian behemoth Emmanuel Mbe registered a double-double with 10 points and 13 boards. But it was the Bulldogs’ defense that stymied any last-ditch efforts made by the Warriors.
Streaky scorer Paul Lee still managed to put up a game-high 18 markers for the Red Warriors despite being heavily guarded all-game long.
University of the East dropped to a dismal 0-4 mark.