UP defeats NU

It was another double win for UP.

After defeating the University of the East Red Warriors, the UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) and Women’s Basketball Team (UPWBT) repeated the feat, this time against the National University (NU) Bulldogs in Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball tournament.

Lopez scores on a layup against NU’s Palacielo. Photo by Jaselle De Leon Lucas, UPDIO

Both the UPMBT and the UPWBT notched their third straight victory of the season and came out on top of their respective team standings.

The UPMBT routed the NU Men’s Bulldogs, 78-60, on Oct. 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, while the UPWBT edged out the NU Lady Bulldogs, 72-69, on Oct. 8 at the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavilion.

UPMBT rookie sensation Francis Lopez exploded in the final quarter and led the UP Fighting Maroons’ assault with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block. These earned him the best player of the game award.

The UPMBT started flat and was trailing by nine points, 9-18, early in the second canto. The UP Fighting Maroons then unleashed a 21-7 run, punctuated by a three-point shot by CJ Cansino to grab the lead, 30-25, going into the second half of the game.

The NU Men’s Bulldogs, however, came out strong at the start of the third period and was able to take the upper hand, 37-36, at the 6:21 mark of the quarter. The UP Fighting Maroons, led by Harold Alarcon, Malick Diouf, and Cansino, then came out firing and eventually closed out the quarter with a 58-45 advantage.

In the payoff period, NU banked on Kean Baclaan’s efforts to trim down UPMBT’s lead to six points, 54-60, with over seven minutes remaining. However, the UPMBT methodically dissected the opponents’ defense to build the separation they needed en route to their third straight win.

Diouf. Photo by Jaselle De Leon Lucas, UPDIO

Lopez’s heroics was backstopped by Diouf who had another double-double performance, scoring 12 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. Cansino contributed 12 points, while Alarcon scored 10 points.

In a related development, the UPWBT led by Favour Onoh had a rousing start and were up by 12 points, 43-31, at the end of the second period. The NU Lady Bulldogs, however, came out strong in the third frame to take the lead, 50-49, going into the game’s final quarter.

It was a seesaw battle between the two teams in the payoff period. At only 6.2 seconds left in the game, and with UPWBT ahead by just two points, 69-67, Kaye Pesquera was sent to the free-throw line on a duty foul from a Lady Bulldog. Pesquera sank her first attempt but missed her second free shot. The NU Lady Bulldogs got the rebound, but UP’s Christie Bariquit stole the ball and passed it to her teammate Louna Ozar to seal the game for the UP Fighting Maroons.

Onoh being guarded by NU’s Angelica Surada. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

Onoh had another monstrous game tallying 18 points, 15 rebounds, four steals, and four blocks, earning her the best player of the game award. Bariquit chipped in 13 points, while Pesquera and Ozar contributed 11 and nine points, respectively. The UPWBT outrebounded the NU Lady Bulldogs, 50-45, and had more second chance points, 9-8.

The UPMBT will face the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws on Oct. 11, 11 a.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena; while the UPWBT will take on FEU Lady Tamaraws also on Oct. 11, 1 p.m. at the Adamson University Gym.

Bariquit drives past NU’s Princess Fabruada. Photo from the UAAP Media Team