UAAP: UP survives FEU for 8th straight win

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 19 2022 12:13 PM | Updated as of Apr 19 2022 12:31 PM

 UP guard Ricci Rivero takes a jump shot against FEU in their UAAP Season 84 second round game. UAAP Media.
UP guard Ricci Rivero takes a jump shot against FEU in their UAAP Season 84 second round game. UAAP Media.

MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATED) University of the Philippines (UP) escaped with a slim 73-70 triumph against Far Eastern University (FEU) to push their winning streak to eight games, Tuesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Zavier Lucero, one of the top contenders for MVP honors in UAAP Season 84, nailed a baseline jumper with 1:26 to play to put the Fighting Maroons on top for good, 72-70.

UP is now 8-1, with their lone loss coming in their season opener against defending champion Ateneo de Manila University. The Tamaraws, tabbed as a Final 4 contender ahead of the season, lost a third straight game to fall to 3-6 in the tournament. 

"In the first quarter, hindi namin masyado makuha 'yung rhythm ng game namin. In the third quarter, doon namin nakuha 'yung confidence namin," UP coach Goldwin Monteverde said after his team survived another close game. 

Ricci Rivero scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the first half, while rookie center Carl Tamayo had 14 points and six rebounds and CJ Cansino added 12 points. Lucero was held to seven points and eight boards but made the biggest shot of the game for the Fighting Maroons.

Stout defense by the Fighting Maroons on FEU's RJ Abarrientos and LJay Gonzales helped them stay ahead, but center Malick Diouf made just one of two free throws with 29 seconds left to keep the door open for the Tamaraws.

Out of a timeout, UP forced Abarrientos into a tough three-pointer. Still, the Tams had another chance when Harold Alarcon bricked two charities with 5.9 ticks to go. Unfortunately for FEU, Abarrientos' desperation three-pointer was off the mark as time expired.

"Sabi nga ni coach, may times lang na medyo lumilihis kami, pero once na bumabalik kami sa system namin, nagiging smooth ang run namin offensively and defensively," said Rivero, who helped bother Abarrientos down the stretch.

Center Emmanuel Ojuola powered the Tams with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Abarrientos and Gonzales each scored 13 points. 

The Tamaraws struggled offensively, however, making just 33% of their attempts including only six of 22 three-pointers.

The scores:

UP 73 -- Rivero 14, Tamayo 14, Cansino 12, Alarcon 8, Lucero 7, Diouf 7, Cagulangan 3, Fortea 3, Webb 0, Abadiano 0, Spencer 0, Calimag 0, Catapusan 0.

FEU 70 -- Ojuola 16, Abarrientos 13, Gonzales 13, Torres 9, Sandagon 6, Tempra 5, Alforque 3, Bienes 3, Li 2, Coquia 0, Sajonia 0.

Quarters: 16-17, 34-37, 57-54, 73-70.