UAAP 82: UP takes fight out of La Salle to take second-seed

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Oct 27, 2019 06:27 PM
UAAP 82: UP takes fight out of La Salle to take second-seed
(Photo by Arvin Lim)

ANTIPOLO - The University of the Philippines has made history in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament.

The Fighting Maroons have seized the second-seed and a twice-to-beat advantage for the next round after sacking De La Salle University, 71-68, Sunday at Ynares Center here.

At 9-4, this is already is the best record in the elimination round for State U in the Final Four era and the first time it will have a playoff incentive.

Without a doubt, they had to work for this as they saw their 27-11 start turn into a 27-32 deficit.

And after fighting back to retake control, UP again fell victim to another Green Archer run to fall behind, 62-66, inside the last three minutes.

From there, however, UP regrouped behind team captain Noah Webb, reigning and defending MVP Bright Akhuetie, and top gun Kobe Paras for an 8-2 response that re-established a 70-68 lead in their favor.

Still, La Salle still had time to make something happen only to see Encho Serrano rush his shot and botch a fastbreak finish.

Not long after, Jun Manzo's split from the stripe finished the job on the decisive run that sent the Fighting Maroons to the two-seed and the Green Archers to the outside of the playoff picture.

With that, UP is now the two-seed with Ateneo de Manila University as top-seed, Far Eastern University as three-seed, and University of Sto. Tomas as four-seed.

Manzo wound up with 11 points, eight assists, and five rebounds while Akhuetie posted a 17-marker, 10-board double-double to go along with two assists and two steals.

Paras also added 10 points and four rebounds as Ricci Rivero matched his season-high with 12 markers on top of five boards.

This is now the second straight season that the squad from Diliman has booked a slot in the semifinals at the expense of the Taft-based team.

Jamie Malonzo topped the scoring column for this one with 17 points and 11 rebounds while Justin Baltazar posted his own 10-marker, 11-board double-double.

Aljun Melecio then chipped in 12 points , eight rebounds, and three assists which were far from enough to prevent their elimination at 6-7.

BOX SCORES

UP 71 - Akhuetie 17, Rivero 12, Manzo 11, Paras 10, Ja. Gomez de Liano 8, Webb 6, Ju. Gomez de Liano 3, Prado 2, Tungcab 2, Spencer 0.

LA SALLE 68 - Malonzo 17, Melecio 12, Baltazar 10, Bates 8, Serrano 8, Lojera 4, Manuel 4, Bartlett 3, Hill 2, Caracut 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 21-11, 35-34, 55-45, 71-68.

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