UP nears twice-to-beat advantage

The UP Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team (UPMBT) and Women’s Basketball Team (UPWBT) notched up another double win to strengthen their bid for a twice-to-beat-advantage in the final four of the Season 86 of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) basketball tournament.

Briones. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

The UPMBT outclassed the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 86-61, at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City, while the UPWBT dominated the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, 70-55, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. Both games were played on Nov.15.

The men’s team had a slow and erratic start and was down by four points, 7-11, midway in the first quarter. Chicco Briones and Cyril Gonzales then provided the spark off the bench and took charge of the scoring run for the UP Fighting Maroons to take upper hand, 44-32, at the half time break.

By controlling the boards and with better ball distribution, the second half of the game was an all UP Fighting Maroons show. The UPMBT established their biggest lead, 86-57, off an Alarcon corner jumper with less than a minute in the ball game.

It was a total team effort for the UP Fighting Maroons as 13 of the 15 players fielded by Coach Goldwin Monteverde scored. Briones led the team’s assault with his 14 points, four rebounds, and one steal. His breakout game earned him the best player of the game award.

Lopez slams the ball. Photo by the UAAP Media Team

Gonzales chipped in 10 points, while Mark Belmonte and CJ Cansino contributed nine points apiece. Francis Lopez scored eight points and nine rebounds.With the win, the UPMBT is at the top of the team standings with an 11-2 record.

Meanwhile, the UPWBT routed the UE Lady Warriors, 70-55, to score their 10thwin in 13 outings.

The UP Fighting Maroons controlled the early goingsand had an eight-point lead, 36-28, at the end of the second period.The UPWBT further stepped up the tempo of the game as their lead ballooned to 24 points, 54-30, off a Justine Domingo and-one play at the 5:33 mark of the third quarter.

In the final quarter, the Lady Warriors, led by Trixie Burgos and Kamba Kone, fought back to cut theUP Fighting Maroons’ lead to 14, 58-44, still with a little over eight minutes left in the game. The UPWBT trio of Achrissa Maw, Rizza Lozada, and Kaye Pesquerra responded with an 8-2 run to extend their lead to 20 points, 66-46, which eventually took the fight out of the Lady Warriors.

Maw guarded by UE’s Dianne Pedregosa. Photo from the UAAP Media Team

Maw paced the UPWBT with 13 points, six rebounds, three steals, and one block. LounaOzar had 11 points, seven assists, and two steals, while Favour Onoh, Domingo, and Lozada contributed nine points apiece.

The UP Fighting Maroons had more bench point scoring thanthe Lady Warriors, 29-13, while UE outscored the UPWBT in the starter point production, 42-41.

The UPMBT will battle the National University (NU) Bulldogs for their final game in the elimination round on Nov. 19, 4 p.m., at the MOA Arena, while the UPWBT will play against the NU Lady Bulldogs on Nov. 18, 11 a.m., at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

Ozar against UE defenders. Photo from the UAAP Media Team