University of the Philippines drops their first round match-up against National University, 75-80, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Bulldogs snapped their seven game losing streak against the Fighting Maroons, dating back to October 8, 2017. With their win, they join UP and Ateneo de Manila University for a three-way tie at the number one spot with identical 3-1 records.
Tied at 66 at the end of the third quarter, the Bulldogs blazed ahead on a 7-1 blast, 67-75, with 5:14 left in the final frame.
Carl Tamayo fired a triple with a little over a minute remaining to pull UP within 3, 75-78. However, the Maroons failed to capitalize on the succeeding possessions. Steve Nash Enriquez was fouled and shot 2-of-2 of his charities to seal the win.
Omar John was hailed as the player of the game, leading NU with 16 points, nine rebounds, three blocks, three assists, and two blocks.
Kean Baclaan contributed 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Jake Figueroa had 10 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals, and two blocks.
The returning Enriquez showed no signs of rust, chipping in 10 points and two steals.
Zavier Lucero top scored for UP with 22 points and eight rebounds and Tamayo had a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
NU will face Adamson University at 4PM on Saturday while the UP will clash in a finals rematch with Ateneo on Sunday’s main event.
NU 80 – John 16, Baclaan 13, Enriquez 10, Figueroa 10, Minerva 6, Clemente 6, Malonzo 5, Yu 4, Galinato 4, Mahinay 2, Tibayan 2, Manansala 2, Palacielo 0, Padrones 0.
UP 75 – Lucero 22, Tamayo 17, Abadiano 11, Alarcon 9, Diouf 7, Fortea 6, Gonzales 2, Spencer 1, Galinato 0, Calimag 0, Ramos 0.
Quarter Scores: 23-24, 50-42, 66-66, 80-75.