UAAP: Maroons survive biggest test thus far by clipping Green Archers | Inquirer Sports

UAAP: Maroons survive biggest test thus far by clipping Green Archers

Malick Diouf UP UAAP

UP center Malick Diouf.–MARLO CUETO/

If there was one thing evident in the way University of the Philippines (UP) played on Wednesday night—and how it has traversed Season 86 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament thus far—is that the Fighting Maroons are showing everyone their innate ability to win.

The Maroons survived a long, cold spell in the fourth period to carve out a 67-64 nipping of La Salle and prime themselves up for a big clash with defending champion Ateneo this weekend where UP takes its unblemished record against a team that also has the tools to deny them a first-round sweep.


The Maroons blew a nine-point lead at the start of the fourth period and withstood a 12-2 La Salle run, pulling out their sixth straight triumph by holding the Green Archers to just a free throw inside the final 2:10 with a no-nonsense defense that was also key in a third-quarter comeback.


“We started flat on both ends in the first half and our defense in the second half spelled the difference,” UP coach Goldwin Monteverde said in Filipino. “It was much better in the second half. We really worked for the loose balls, we were able to recover.

“It’s all about wanting it more.” Malick Diouf grabbed 18 rebounds that went with 10 points as the Maroons dealt La Salle its third loss in six games.

UP went back to the locker room for the halftime break with a nine-point deficit staring it in the face before the Maroons held the highly touted Archers to just three points in the third frame for a 59-50 lead entering the final quarter.

And when it seemed like the Maroons were about to implode, they showed maturity and resilience when winning time came.

National U and Far Eastern kept winning, and defending champion Ateneo got back on track with the Bulldogs staying near the top of the standings after scoring a 68-49 victory over University of the East.

The Bulldogs took control before halftime with their tight defense after a slow start, giving up just four points to the Red Warriors in the second period that resulted in National U’s fifth win in six games, even as the Tamaraws got a lift from LJ Gonzales in a low-scoring 49-46 triumph over Adamson.


Eagles defang Tigers

“I’m at least 40 percent satisfied on their performance because in the first quarter, we gave up 21 points right away, we’re sending the wrong message to our opponents,” Bulldogs head coach Jeff Napa said, whose charges responded by holding the Warriors to 28 points in the final three periods.

And while the Bulldogs won a third straight game and the Tamaraws sewed up their first winning streak, the defending champion Blue Eagles climbed back to .500 after a 97-77 shellacking of the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers.

And coach Tab Baldwin acknowledged the importance of going there with a lopsided win like this one.

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“Generally speaking, it was a good game on both ends of the floor for us. I think we need that kind of performance, especially going into the UP game,” Baldwin said shortly after dealing the Tigers a sixth straight defeat.

TAGS: La Salle, UAAP men’s basketball, University of the Philippines (UP)

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