MANILA -- National University kept its Final Four alive as they moved past University of the Philippines, 61-59, in the 73rd UAAP men's basketball tournament Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.

The Bulldogs endured the late game spurt of the Fighting Maroons, with prized rookie Mike Silungan firing a triple with 20 seconds left to inch closer at 60-59.

The Diliman based-squad, however, failed to sustain the rally as fourth year Dionisio Hipolito missed game-winning charities with 2.4 ticks left, to give the Bulldogs a breath of life.

The win helped NU surpass its 3-11 slate last year after upping their record to 4-6, with just only four games left that will spell the destiny of the retooled squad.

"We are taking it one game at a time. We wanted to go there. This is our stepping stone. Every game should not be a stumbling block," said coach Eric Gonzales.

Cameroonian rookie Emmanuel Mbe delivered another monster performance by registering 21 points, 16 rebounds and a block while Joseph Hermosisima added 14 markers, four boards and six assists.

Silungan paced the losing effort of the Maroons with 17 points, seven rebounds, two steals and an assist.

In their first round meeting last August 7, NU shattered UP's 22-point bubble to score a 70-68 pulsating victory.

The Fighting Maroons dropped all its ten games so far, almost matching their worst performance three years ago, when a Joe Lipa-coached team finished the 70th season without single victory. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)