UAAP: Maroons nip Green Archers for a 2-0 start
The celebration continues for University of the Philippines.
Four days after beating University of the East, the Fighting Maroons proved their opening day victory was no fluke with a 71-66 squeaker over De La Salle University for a rare 2-0 start in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Jett Manuel shone with 14 points, five rebounds and five assists while Paul Desiderio added 13 points, four rebounds and three assists for the Fighting Maroons, whose 2-0 start is their first since 2005.
“It feels really good especially that I’m a new coach. I don’t have any words for what we’re feeling right now,” said UP head coach Rensy Bajar.
“It was really a total team effort,” Manuel told reporters. “We are looking for more wins.”
The game also marked the Maroons’ first win over the Green Archers in the last six years and Bajar said that was his team’s motivation going into the game.
“The players were motivated with the fact that UP hasn’t won against La Salle since 2009 so I told them no one’s going to motivate you but yourselves.”
UP led as high as 17, 54-37, after back to back triples by Gelo Vito and Desiderio in the third quarter before La Salle fought back and trimmed it down to just four, 65-61, following a tough layup by Jeron Teng with still 45.9 seconds to go.
But the Maroons answered by hitting their last six free throws in the final 42 seconds to put the game out of reach.
Paolo Rivero had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Green Archers, who failed to followup their opening game win over defending champion National University last Sunday.
Rookie Andrei Caracut finished in double-digits for the second straight game with 12 points while Teng added 10 on a poor 4-of-12 shooting from the field before fouling out at 40.6 ticks to go.
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