UP clinches 2x-to-beat advantage

The UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) routed the National University (NU) Bulldogs, 79-57, in Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament on Nov. 19 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The UP Fighting Maroons are now at the top of the team standings in the elimination round with a 12-2 record. The team also clinched the twice-to-beat advantage in the final four.

Lopez shoots against NU’s Omar John. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

Led by Francis Lopez, Malick Diouf, and JD Cagulangan, the UP Fighting Maroons were in total control of the game from the get-go. Despite getting into early foul trouble, the UPMBT only allowed the Bulldogs to come within six points, 32-26, from a Jake Figueroa and-one basket at the 3:57 mark of the second period. The UPMBT had a comfortable lead, 42-30, at the end of the second frame.

Anchored in great defense, the UP Fighting Maroons then slowly but surely pulled-away from the Bulldogs. The UPMBT established their biggest lead of the game, 77-52, with Mark Belmonte’s three-point shot with four minutes and four seconds left in the game.

Diouf. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

Lopez paced the UP Fighting Maroons with 13 points, three steals, and two rebounds. Diouf had another sterling performance scoring 11 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and three blocks. Cansino also contributed 11 points, while Janjan Felicilda and Sean Aldous Torculas chipped in nine and seven points, respectively.

The UP Fighting Maroons capitalized on the errors committed by the Bulldogs by producing 28 points off the turnovers. The UPMBT also outperformed NU in the starter points (33-28), bench points (46-29), assists (22-11), and steals (15-7).

(From left) Felicilda and Cagulangan. Photo from the UAAP Media Team