MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) -- The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons finally earned their first win of the UAAP Season 75 with an emphatic 63-48 victory over the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Maroons were led by rookie Henry Asilum, who scored all of his 14 points in the second half, and veteran Mark Lopez, who continued his strong play this season with 10
points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals.
But it was a team effort for the Maroons, who snapped a 15-game losing streak dating back to Season 74. They last won a game on August 4, 2011, a stunning 76-63 upset over the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.
"This win is like sunshine after the dark days of torrential rains," said UP head coach Ricky Dandan, who won only for the third time as the coach of the Maroons.
With Asilum leading the way, the Maroons took control of the game in the third quarter. The rookie point guard scored seven straight points to put UP ahead , 41-32, midway through the period.
The Warriors were forced to earn their points through the free throw line but managed to cut the lead to five, 40-45, after a Jai Flores charity.
But Paolo Romero drained a jumper, and Mike Silungan made a three-pointer to send the Maroons ahead by nine points, 50-41, going into the final period.
The Maroons also played superb defense in the second half, holding the Warriors without a field goal for almost 12 minutes bridging the third and fourth periods.
A three-pointer from Pedrito Galanza with 3:45 left plus an athletic drive from Roi Sumang gave the Warriors some home, 46-54, with 2:30 left in the game.
But the Maroons quickly stymied their comeback attempt, with Diony Hipolito scoring on a lay-up, and Asilum sealing the deal with a fastbreak lay-up off a UE turnover.
"Dito sa amin sa UP, losing hope is not an option," Dandan said, adding that his players showed a tremendous fortitude in the game.
"I'm sure this wll propel us to a stronger second round," he added.
The Red Warriors had just broken to the win column in their previous game after beating the Adamson Falcons, but could not put together a winning streak.
They committed several turnovers that the Maroons easily converted into fastbreak points, and did not help their cause as they played lackadaisickal defense for most of the game.
Only Sumang managed to get going for the Warriors, scoring 18 points to go along with seven rebounds. But Adrian Santos, JR Sumido and Cris Javier did not put up their usual numbers as the Warriors found points hard to come by in the game.
With the win, the Maroons are tied with the Red Warriors and the Adamson Soaring Falcons at the bottom of the league standings with identical 1-6 records.