UP stops slide with win over UEBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—It took a while but University of the Philippines finally seized its first win following a 63-48 victory over University of the East Sunday night in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
The win stopped a 15-game slide that dates back to last season.
“I have a lot of cliches for you but really this win is like sunshine in the dark days of torrential rains,” said UP head coach Ricky Dandan.
UP finally barged into the win column after a 0-6 start but the Maroons had to take it from the Red Warriors, who just came off a stunning win over Adamson in their previous game.
“And also losing hope is not an option for us….[O] ur record doesn’t reflect who we are. Fortitude is a big word for us. I’m sure this will propel us for a stronger second round,” added Dandan.
The game was up for grabs until UP broke loose thanks to the heady play of its rookie Henry Asilum.
Asilum, a former PH Youth National team mainstay, played his best game yet with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Part of his points was a basket that halted UE’s comeback bid.
“Ito talaga yung hinihintay namin at sana magtuloy-tuloy na kami,” hoped Asilum, who came off the bench and played 22 minutes.
“If he has a weakness, it’s his age,” Dandan said of Asilum, who just turned 16.
Mike Silungan nailed a three that put UP ahead, 50-40, in the third period.
The Red Warriors threatened a comeback but it was cut short as the Maroons held their ground.
Cris Ball completed a three-point play to give the UP its biggest lead at 15, 61-46.
Roi Sumang shot 18 points but he lacked much-needed support from his teammates.
UP, UE and Adamson have identical 1-6 records heading into the second round, which starts on Thursday.