MANILA -- Ateneo needed to stare a 14-point deficit in the second quarter to unify their acts and overpower a gritty National University (NU), 82-65, in the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

A recovered Eric Salamat unloaded eight of his 20 points as he led a 9-2 run for the struggling Blue Eagles before the halftime break.

A-game plays from slotman Nico Salva and shooting guard Kirk Long continued the spark in the last two quarters as Ateneo improved to three wins against two setbacks, which was highlighted by a humbling loss to archrival La Salle last week.

“I’m glad that I have recovered from the injury. At least I was able to help the team in winning this game,” Salamat told reporters.

Joseph Hermosisima registered 18 markers, six rebounds and an assist while Larry Malanday unexpectedly shone for the Bulldogs with 12 points.

Cameroonian center Emmanuel Mbe went on with a double-double performance by posting 11 points and 12 rebounds.

It was a bitter loss for NU (2-4) as the team failed to give a fitting bonus for the school’s 110th anniversary on Sunday. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)