UAAP: UP clinches No. 1 seed, crushes NU
MANILA, Philippines–University of the Philippines claimed the top seeding after whipping National University, 79-57, in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fighting Maroons, who are hoping to reclaim the title they lost last season, clash with either defending champion Ateneo or Adamson in the Final Four.
“We knew how tough NU is so we really needed to prepare our defense and at the same time still try to improve playing as a team on both ends,” UP coach Goldwin Monteverde said after the Maroons led by as many as 25 points and never looked back.
UP smothered NU, forcing the Bulldogs to commit 22 turnovers that led to 28 points.
Francis Lopez and Malick Diouf boosted the blowout victory. Lopez had 13 points and three steals while Diouf finished with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting from the field, eight rebounds, four assists and three blocks.
“Our mindset is to just keep on working, whatever we encounter during the game, we just have to adjust and try to overcome what’s in front of us,” Lopez said. “Whatever the result of the game, it’s just a product of our hard work during the flow of the game.”
“Coach Gold always tells us to keep on pounding and if we give our best whatever the result [of the game is,] we are okay with that as long as we gave our effort. No matter what happens, we will not give up and we will give our best,” Cansino said as they await the result of the knockout match between Ateneo and Adamson.
Jake Figueroa tallied 11 points, a steal and two blocks for NU (10-4), which faces surging La Salle (11-3) in the semifinals. The Green Archers earned the other twice-to-beat after sweeping the second round.