The University of the Philippines clinched the second seed out of Group II in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup after dominating University of the East in the final frame for a 103-81 rout, Thursday inside Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
CJ Cansino fired 14 points on top of three assists, Francis Lopez had 15 points and five boards, while Harold Alarcon finished with 17 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in the Fighting Maroons’ seventh win in nine games.
It was also Cansino who did the most damage in the pivotal 17-2 push that turned a one-point deficit early in the fourth quarter into an 85-71 advantage with 4:22 remaining.
“Si CJ, he’s a guy that’ll never hesitate e. Gumanda rin ikot ng bola namin and it just so happened na si CJ nakakuha ng good looks,” said assistant coach Christian Luanzon. .
The graduating guard got three triples in the tide-turning run, as State U wound up crushing the Red Warriors in the final frame, 35-15. With the win, they blocked off National University (6-2) from the no. 2 spot by virtue of win over the other.
The first three quarters saw UE playing well, as they were neck-and-neck with a fancied side for 11 deadlocks and seven lead changes. Running out of gas late, however, they closed their campaign with a 3-6 card.
Noy Remogat topped the scoring column for the Red Warriors with 30 points to go with five assists, four rebounds, and two steals, while American reinforcement Delvieon Jackson posted an 18-point, 16-rebound double-double.
Meanwhile, Ateneo de Manila University made quick work of Faith Colleges of Batangas, 92-53, for a third consecutive victory in Group II.
Kai Ballungay turned in another strong showing of 22 points on top of two rebounds and two assists, as Joseph Obasa backstopped him with 13 points and nine rebounds. Lebron Nieto and Ian Espinosa also added 11 points apiece in the Blue Eagles' ascent to 3-5.
"We talked before the game about having the right mentality all the time. If you're gonna be a competitor, you should show urgency all the time," said head coach Tab Baldwin, referring to their mindset heading into the match against a winless opponent.
The Bravehearts bowed out of the tourney having lost all nine games, but not before Adam Fernando and Lloyd Dimawala each poured in 11 points to front their effort.