UAAP: Tamayo-led UP completes comeback vs La Salle, enters finals

Karl Cedrick Basco, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 06 2022 08:37 PM | Updated as of May 06 2022 09:36 PM

Photo from UAAP Media Bureau
Photo from UAAP Media Bureau

MANILA (UPDATED) – Carl Tamayo and the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons completed a massive comeback in the payoff period to sneak past the gritty De La Salle University Green Archers in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament. 

Tamayo led the Fighting Maroons in a stunning 22-4 run in the final four minutes of the do-or-die game to escape La Salle, 78-74, in the Final 4 at the Mall of Asia Arena on Friday night. 

Tamayo dropped 12 of his 19 big points in the fourth-quarter spurt of UP to give his team the last ticket to the championship series where they will face the defending champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles. 

“Actually, halos buong game we were struggling on the floor. Hindi nag-give up ang players ko and we overcame adversity,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde. 

“Di ko alam what I'm feeling right now but I just remember our practice, we’re five man down sa injured namin. Everybody just made the decision na whatever happens, we'll never give up.”

The Green Archers appeared to be untouchable at the start of the last period, but Tamayo found his rhythm to deny De La Salle in their semis matchup. 

With UP down by 14 points after a spin move from Justine Baltazar at the 7:05 mark of the fourth quarter, Ricci Rivero completed a three-point play to spark what would be a come-from-behind run of UP, with 4:15 left to play. 

The rookie Tamayo then took control of the game, starting with a basket at the 2:25 mark to cut their deficit down to 67-71. 

La Salle found a little breather from Michael Phillips, who muscled his way in for a 73-69 lead, with 1:46 left in the clock. 

Tamayo drained a pair of charities before Joel Cagulangan stole the ball from the inbound en route to the young big man’s game-tying jumper, 73-all. 

Phillips split his free throws in the final 32.3 seconds of the game for a 74-73 separation but Tamayo answered back with a three-point play that gave UP its first lead of the ballgame, 76-74. 

Evan Nelle, the hero of Game 1 win of La Salle, narrowly missed a layup for a potential equalizer and Tamayo showed up for the rebound and got fouled. 

Tamayo capped UP's run with two free throws that sealed their victory. 

Maodo Diouf had 14 points and 17 rebounds while Harold Alarcon and Rivero contributed with 26 combined markers. 

Deschon Winston had 26 points for La Salle. Phillips, on the other hand, tallied 10 points and 17 boards.