UAAP Finals: UP dominates La Salle in Game 1 | Inquirer Sports

UAAP Finals: UP dominates La Salle in Game 1

/ 08:40 PM November 29, 2023

Francis Lopez UP vs La Salle UAAP Finals

UP rookie Francis Lopez hangs on the rim during Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball Finals against La Salle.–MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines — Banking on experience, University of the Philippines turned the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball Finals into its own playground after dominating La Salle, 97-67, in the title opener on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Fighting Maroons, who are in their third straight Finals, pulled away in the third quarter behind Francis Lopez and Harold Alarcon, who combined for 17 points.


UP doubled its halftime lead after a CJ Cansino triple made it, 77-53, with less than two minutes left in the pivotal third period. The Maroons never looked back with sophomore Aldous Torculas energizing the crowd with a putback slam to stretch the lead to 25 points, 81-65, early in the fourth before Terrence Fortea hit a triple to tally the biggest margin at 30 with 1:18 to go.


The Maroons, last year’s runner-up, try to reclaim the crown in Game 2 on Sunday, 2 p.m., at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

REyland torres Harold Alarcon UP UAAP Finals

UP’s Reyland Torres and Harold Alarcon.–MARLO CUETO/

Alarcon showed the way with 21 points, while Lopez, who will receive the Rookie of the Year award before Game 2 tip-off, made an impressive Finals debut with 15 points and 11 rebounds to lead the most lopsided Game 1 in the Final Four era.

But Alarcon, who was part of the last two Finals, insists to his team that the job is not done as in their first two championship round appearances, they won Game 1 but were forced to rubber match in both seasons.

“Siguro masasabi ko lang parang hindi pa ito yung pwede magsaya. Hindi pa tapos yung laban siguro after nito magfocus na kami sa next game,” Alarcon said.

JD Cagulangan was also instrumental with 11 points including a buzzer-beating three to end the first half that gave UP a 53-41 lead that set the pace for their second-half demolition. Gerry Abadiano contributed 10 points, while Torculas and Malick Diof chipped in nine points each and combined for 25 rebounds.

UP ended La Salle’s nine-game winning streak with its airtight defense limiting the latter to a 2-of-23 three-point shooting and forcing 18 turnovers to score 24 points off it.


“Well, I guess iyong team really na-eexecute nila iyong game plan a while ago and defense was really great,” said UP coach Goldwin Monteverde. “We just have to sustain and know that the Finals will not be one game but it’s a series so tapat– we just have to right now know what to work on and be ready for the next game.”

La Salle got dominated in its first Finals game in six years with newly-minted MVP Kevin Quiambao limited to 11 points on 4-of-10 shooting to go with six rebounds and three assists.

Mike Phillips carried the Green Archers with 19 points and nine rebounds. Eban Nelle also struggled with eight points on 4-of-13 shooting.

UP coach Goldwin Monteverde, Francis Lopez, and Harold Alarcon after dominating La Salle in Game 1. #UAAPSeason86

Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, November 29, 2023

The Scores:

UP (97) — Alarcon 21, Lopez 15, Cagulangan 11, Abadiano 10, Torculas 9, Diouf 9, Cansino 5, Belmonte 5, Fortea 5, Felicilda 4, Pablo 3, Briones 0, Torres 0, Alter 0, Gagate 0.

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DLSU (67) — M. Phillips 19, Quiambao 11, Nelle 8, Austria 6, Nonoy 5, Cortez 4, Gollena 4, Escandor 3, David 2, Policarpio 2, Abadam 2, Manuel 1, B. Phillips 0, Macalalag 0, Nwankwo 0.

Quarterscores: 28-24, 53-41, 77-55, 97-67

TAGS: La Salle Green Archers, UAAP Finals, UP Fighting Maroons

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