UP ends October with 2 basketball wins

The UP Fighting Maroons Women’s Basketball Team (UPWBT) and Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) ended October with another double win in Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball tournament.

The UPWBT defeated the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons, 57-45, on Oct. 28 at the Adu Gym, while the UPMBT edged out the Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, 65-60, on Oct. 29 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Pesquera shoots from the three-point line. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

The UPWBT struggled in the early goings of the game and was trailing by three points, 10-13, at the end of the first period. The UP Fighting Maroons, led by Rizza Lozada, Kaye Pesquera, Favour Onoh, and Rhea Sanchez, stepped up their defense and offense to take the upper hand, 26-22, at the half-time break.

UPWBT continued their pressure defense in the second half, challenging each AdU ball possession and forcing the Lady Falcons to commit turn-overs. The UP Fighting Maroons slowly pulled away and were able to establish their biggest lead to 21 points, 51-30, on a floater by Lozada at the 7:40 mark of the final canto. UPWBT’s dominance eventually took the fight out of the Lady Falcons.

Sanchez. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

It was a total team effort for the UP Fighting Maroons as Lozada, Onoh, Pesquera, and Sanchez scored eight points apiece. Pesquera, who was named best player of the game, also had four rebounds, five assists, and three steals. With the win, the UPWBT is in second place in the team standings with a 7-2 record.

Meanwhile, the UPMBT fended off the late comeback of ADMU to snatch eight wins in nine outings.

Gerry Abadiano had a superb showing. He scored 22 points, three rebounds, two assists, and a steal. Abadiano’s break-out game earned him the best player of the game award.

It was a slow start for both teams as they played sloppy offenses. The UP Fighting Maroons were up by only two points, 32-30, at the half-time break.

In the third frame, the UPMBT displayed a good defensive stance, switching from man-to-man defense to zone defense, as they held the Blue Eagles to only nine points in the whole third quarter. The Fighting Maroons were ahead by 10 points, 49-39, going into the final period.

The Fighting Maroons were ahead by 12 points, 54-42, when Jared Brown and Kai Ballungay led the Blue Eagles’ 12-0 assault. This tied the score, 54-54, with over five minutes more in the game.

(From left) ADMU’s Obasa and Abadiano. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

The UP Fighting Maroons then responded with a three-point shot from Harold Alarcon and a corner jumper from Abadiano to give the UPMBT the cushion needed, 59-54, from the determined Blue Eagles, still with four minutes and 50 seconds left.

ADMU’s Jason Credo then scored an and-one lay-up to push the Blue Eagles within two points, 57-59. UPMBT however, answered with a lay-up from Francis Lopez and a 15-foot jumper from Alarcon to extend their lead to six points, 63-57, with 45.3 seconds remaining in the game. Mason Amos then drained a corner three-point shot with 42.9 seconds left to pull the Blue Eagles within three points, 63-60.

Alarcon shoots against three Blue Eagles defenders. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

In the ensuing play, the UPMBT wasted some time before Alarcon missed his floater, giving the ADMU a chance to tie the game. Joseph Obasa however, also missed his floater attempt, forcing Chris Koon to foul Abadiano. Abadiano then coolly sank his two free throws to seal the victory for the UPMBT.

Abadiano’s sterling game was backstopped by Alarcon, Lopez, and Malick Diouf, who contributed 10 points apiece. Terrence Fortea, who just played his first game for this season, chipped in seven points.