UAAP: UP eyes to reclaim crown, La Salle aims to bring back lost glory | Inquirer Sports

UAAP: UP eyes to reclaim crown, La Salle aims to bring back lost glory

/ 08:28 PM November 27, 2023

UP Fighting Maroons UAAP

UP Fighting Maroons.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines tries to reclaim the championship it lost last year but a surging La Salle side stands in its way and is determined to bring back its lost UAAP glory.

For the first time ever, the Fighting Maroons and Green Archers clash in a best-of-three title series for the Season 86 men’s basketball crown.


UP makes its third straight finals appearance and eyes its fourth overall championship against La Salle, which is returning to the biggest stage after six years and seeking to end a seven-year title drought, on Wednesday in Game 1 at Mall of Asia Arena.


The series opener is set at 6 p.m. with the winner trying to clinch the title on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum. If necessary, Game 3 is on December 6 also at the Big Dome.

The Fighting Maroons, under coach Goldwin Monteverde, have emerged as one of the best collegiate teams in the country since they ended a 36-year championship drought in Season 84 behind the epic game-winning trey of JD Cagulangan.

UP couldn’t keep its crown as Ateneo got the better of the former in Game 3 of the Season 85 Finals, followed by the departure of Carl Tamayo, Zavier Lucero, James Spencer, and Henry Galinato.

But it didn’t stop the rise of State U as CJ Cansino returned from an ACL injury reuniting with reigning MVP Malick Diouf, Gerry Abadiano, JD Cagulangan, Harold Alarcon, and Terrence Fortea, while Francis Lopez emerged as a top rookie candidate as his fellow newcomers Aldous Torculas, Janjan Felicilda, and Reyland Torres have been instrumental in their past games

The Fighting Maroons clinched their best elimination record, winning 12 of their 14 games. And they didn’t waste their twice-to-beat advantage, exacting a sweet revenge to dethrone the Ateneo Blue Eagles with a 57-46 victory in the Final Four on Saturday.

Kevin Quiambao La Salle UAAP

La Salle’s Kevin Quiambao reacts during a game against Ateneo in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.–MARLO CUETO/

UP’s last defeat came at the hands of La Salle, 88-79, in the second round on November 5 when Kevin Quiambao starred with 22 points and 12 rebounds.


The Green Archers are brimming with confidence entering the Finals, winning nine consecutive games since their first-round loss to the Fighting Maroons, 67-64, last October 18.

Monteverde may have started to make his mark for UP in the UAAP since last year but Topex Robinson has spelled the difference for La Salle, turning the heartbreak kids into finalists in his first season in the league.

Under Robinson, Quiambao shone the brightest, emerging as the MVP frontrunner as he is likely to become the first local to win the top individual plum since Ateneo guard Kiefer Ravena in 2015 and the first Green Archer since Ben Mbala’s back-to-back runs in 2016 and 2017.

It’s not just about Quiambao as mainstays Mike Phillips, Evan Nelle, and Mark Nonoy have been instrumental in La Salle’s emergence as the hottest UAAP team right now with Jonnel Policarpio, Francis Escandor, and Joshua David also providing quality minutes.

The Green Archers ended as the No. 2 seed of the eliminations after sweeping the second round. They remained dominant in the Final Four, eliminating National University, 97-73, on Saturday.

La Salle went through heartbreaking seasons in the past two tournaments, losing to UP in the do-or-die Final Four game in Season 84 and losing to Adamson in a playoff in Season 85, which was missed by Quiambao due to COVID-19.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

After suffering from heartbreaks, the Green Archers finally got a shot at the school’s 10th championship against the Fighting Maroons, their newest rivals in the UAAP finals since joining the league in 1986.

TAGS: La Salle Green Archers, UAAP Season 86, UP Fighting Maroons

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.