UNIVERSITY of the Philippines (UP) gets a shot at keeping its crown as the Fighting Maroons beat the National University (NU) Bulldogs, 9-61, to return to the Finals of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Guards Terrence Fortea, Gerry Abadiano and JD Cagulangan deliver the goods when it mattered most for UP to secure a ticket to the Finals.
“We’re happy that we’ll be getting another chance to win the championship,” said UP Head Coach Goldwin Monteverde, whose enter team played heads up in the absence of top Maroon Carl Tamayo who left the game in the first half with an ankle injury.
“We started out flat. Losing Carl in the first half, he wasn’t 100 percent, the team responded well to the challenge given to us,” Monteverde added.
UP will face the winner of the other semifinal between Ateneo and Adamson University.
Most Valuable Player race frontrunner Malick Diouf led UP with 17 points, 21 rebounds and three blocks, while Zavier Lucero added 12 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and two steals.
Jake Figueroa made 16 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Kean Baclaan finished with 14 points for the Bulldogs.
NU, meanwhile, got back at De La Salle University—the team that halted the Lady Bulldogs’ 108-game winning streak—93-61, in Game 1 of the women’s best-of-three also at the Big Dome.
The Lady Bulldogs go for their seventh-straight championship on Sunday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
“It’s a short series so our mindset is to get the first one,” NU head coach Aris Dimaunahan.” The girls’ energy, their focus, the way they moved the ball today was truly awesome.”
Mikka Cacho sent 5 of 7 from the field to finish with 16 points on top of four rebounds and three assists, while Rhocel Bartolo had 12 points for the Lady Bulldogs.
Angel Surada chalked up 10 points and seven rebounds as 13 of the 16 Lady Bulldogs fielded scored at least three points.
Fina Niantcho Tchuido paced the Green Archers with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Ameng Torres had 14 points and five rebounds against five turnovers.