Bulldogs bite Archers to stay alive

MANILA, Philippines -- Defending champion National University stayed in the hunt for a Final Four spot after extending De La Salle University's woes, 81-73, on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

The Bulldogs showed championship poise down the stretch as they closed out the payoff period with a 6-0 windup to seal their fifth win in seven games while pulling the Archers down to 5-6. 

Former national youth team standout JJ Alejandro logged in a career-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting while Nico Javelona also came up big with 14 markers as the young tandem pumped up life to the fading Bulldogs' title-retention bid. 

The win cut La Salle's lead to just half a game heading to the homestretch of the elimination round. 

Thomas Torres hit a triple to pull the Archers within a basket, 75-73, with 41 seconds left.  But it proved to be their last hurrah. 

The loss came on the heels of a shocker last week at the hands of cellar-dwelling Adamson Falcons where they squandered a double-digit lead entering the payoff period. La Salle has now lost three of its last four games.  

Jeron Teng had 25 points while Andrei Caracut added 18 points for the Archers.  Also going down the drain was Jason Perkins' 10 points and 15 rebounds. 

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