UAAP: Zavier Lucero helps UP scrape past FEU
MANILA, Philippines—Like he has been doing of late, Zavier Lucero hoisted University of the Philippines on his lean shoulders and carried the Maroons on Saturday.
Down the stretch, however, he got a lot of needed help.
Lucero highlighted yet another all-around performance with a clutch triple while Carl Tamayo and Joel Cagulangan came up clutch in the final minute as UP edged Far Eastern University, 83-76, in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Maroons’ sixth straight victory—UP hadn’t strung up a win streak that long in nearly two decades—propelled them to a 6-1 record at the end of the first round, the second hottest team behind unbeaten league leader Ateneo.
FEU dropped to 3-4.
Lucero delivered a clutch triple that gave UP a 76-70 lead under the last two minutes—a huge breather in a game that was tight all night.
It helped the Maroons weather a big three-pointer from Xyrus Torres and a split by LJ Gonzales, which pegged the count at 76-74, 1:24 to play.
But Tamayo responded with a basket off a second-chance opportunity and, after an uncontested turnover by Emman Ojuola returned possession to the Maroons, Cagulangan dropped two more points that made it 80-74 with 45 seconds remaining.
Ricci Rivero, who had been struggling of late, completed a three-point play to seal the victory.
Lucero finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and three steals to lead the Maroons as the high-motor UP big made three of his four attempts from beyond the arc. Tamayo, a member of the Gilas Pilipinas cadet pool, added 12 points and four rebounds.
Gonzales finished with 20 points and eight rebounds to lead FEU while Ojuola added 17 points and 13 rebounds.