MANILA – The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons survived a second-half surge by the University of the East (UE) to remain unscathed in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
The Fighting Maroons saw their huge lead in the first half dissipate, albeit momentarily, before flaunting a shooting display in the payoff period to eke out an 84-69 victory over the Red Warriors at the Mall of Asia Wednesday.
Eleven UP players contributed in the scoring department as the team improved its record to 2-0, while pushing UE to a 1-1 slate.
Reigning UAAP MVP Malick Diouf had another solid puting, tallying 19 points to go along with 16 boards. CJ Cansino added 17 points on 3-of-5 shooting from three-point territory.
“We started out strong nung laro which is good for us but one thing Coach Gold always would emphasize ever since nung we started training really was to be consistent in all four quarters. So that's one thing that was lacking today and as coaches would say back to the drawing board for us. It's always a process for us as Coach Gold would say,” assistant coach Christian Luanzon said, referring to head coach Goldwin Monteverde.
The Fighting Maroons built an almost insurmountable gap in the first period, 32-6, after the free throws of Cansino.
But the Red Warriors clawed back, cutting down their deficit to just nine points early in the fourth quarter, 53-62.
But UP got their rhythm back after a UE timeout, dropping a fiery 10-0 run, capped by back-to-back baskets from Francis Lopez to widen the separation once again, 72-53.
The lead ballooned to 20 points as Cansino buried a triple in the 1:14 mark of the period, 84-64, to secure their second straight win.
Precious Momowei paced UE with 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Rey Remogat had 11 markers.