UAAP: UP exploits Cansino’s absence, eliminates UST from Final 4 race
University of the Philippines took out one more contender for the Final Four after eliminating University of Santo Tomas with a 83-69 win in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons laid claim to the fourth spot with a 7-6 record while nailing the Growling Tigers to the sixth place with a 5-8 card.
UST, which held a 34-26 lead midway through the second quarter, lost rookie star CJ Cansino to a left knee sprain with 5:57 left in the first half.
Cansino’s injury swept the Growling Tigers with a cold wave, which UP took advantage of going on a 22-4 run to across the second and third quarters to establish a 48-38 lead on Jun Manzo’s bucket.
UP head coach Bo Perasol said they couldn’t rest easy even after the crucial win with his team still has to win its final game against De La Salle and also look out for Far Eastern University.
The Tamaraws hold a 6-6 record and still have a legitimate chance at the no.4 spot.
“What this win has done for us is place us in a position to really fight for that no.4 slot, however, we would want to take it away from our minds because this is just a lingering thought,” said Perasol who led UP to its first seven-win campaign in 14 years.
“This is just one win and we need another one. We need to put this win behind us and we cannot overthink there’s a more crucial game for us on Wednesday.”
Bright Akhuetie and Janjan Jaboneta were the only ones to score for UP in the fourth quarter but they did enough to hold off any UST advancements.
Jaboneta drilled a corner three that gave UP an 83-62 lead with 1:56 left in the game putting the game out of UST’s reach.
Akhuetie finished with a team-high 25 points with 18 rebounds for the Fighting Maroons while Paul Desiderio had 19 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
Marvin Lee led UST with 26 points, on 7-of-15 shooting from beyond the arc, with five boards while Renzo Subido added 22 points on 4-of-10 three-point shooting.
Cansino had two points and three rebounds before his exit.
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