Salem’s big game lifts NU past struggling UP

‪MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The UP Fighting Maroons’ downward spiral continued with a loss to the NU Bulldogs, 80-69, on Saturday, October 1, at the Mall of Asia Arena.‬

Led by the career-high 26 points of Matt Salem, the Bulldogs avoided a fourth quarter meltdown to improve their record in UAAP Season 79 to 4-2. UP, on the other hand, ended its first round with a 1-6 record.‬

Salem shot 9-of-13 from the field and also pulled down 6 boards while Rev Diputado and rookie JV Gallego each scored 12 points in the winning effort. ‬

UP, which shot only 33% from the field, was led by the 21 points and 4 rebounds of captain Jett Manuel.‬

After trailing by 11 at halftime, UP clawed its way back and was within two, 59-57, with 4:16 left. The Maroons’ momentum, however, was short-lived.‬

A foul by big man Andrew Harris on Mohammad Salim injured the Bulldog forward. Since Salim was unable to shoot the free throws, Salem stepped up to the line and hit both. Salem then converted another free throw after a technical foul was assessed to Harris for resentment to a call.‬

Getting the ball back due to the technical foul, NU went to Gallego, who attacked the paint, got the foul, made the basket, and then completed the and-one play. Just like that, NU’s lead was back up to 8, and the Bulldogs held on the rest of the way.‬

NU closes its first-round campaign against the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, October 5. ‬–