Junior Maroons survive UE five in OT as UAAP jrs hoops return

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UNIVERSITY of the Philippines Integrated School (UPIS) survived University of the East (UE) in overtime, 101-94, to mark the return of University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) high school boys basketball action after three years Sunday morning at the Filoil Ecooil Centre in San Juan City.

The Junior Maroons banked on Basty Jacob, Marcus Raymundo, Jonas Napalang, Rocco Melicor and Kobe Demisana for the hard-earned overtime win in their first game of Season 85.

The last time a UAAP high school basketball tournament was held in Season 82 when UPIS only won one game, its last match against, coincidentally, UE.

“This is a big win for us because we waited this long since 2020,” Junior Maroons head coach Paolo Mendoza said. “Just like Kobe [Demisana], it’s his rookie year.”

Demisana, a 6-foot-8 big man, lived up to the hype in his first game in the league with 17 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action.

Jacob led UPIS with 19 points, nine rebounds and four steals, while Daryl Valdeavilla (18), Napalang (17) and Melicor (16) rounded out the double digit scorers for UPIS.

JD Malonzo had 15 points for the Junior Red Warriors while Andrei De Leon and Drei Gragasin chipped in 13 points apiece.

University of Santo Tomas (UST) bucked a slow start to down De La Salle Zobel, 56-46, in the other game.

The Tiger Cubs flexed their might after the halftime break to turn a 17-26 deficit into a 38-all deadlock heading into the fourth quarter. It was all UST in the payoff period as the Tiger Cubs outscored the Junior Archers, 18-8, with James Jumao-as leading the way as he finished with 17 points and four rebounds.

“I’m happy with my graduating players—James Jumao-as, JP Pangilinan and Mark Llemit,” Tiger Cubs head coach Jinino Manansala said.

JP Pangilinan and Charles Esteban also had 10 points apiece for UST while Rhyle Melencio top-scored for DLSZ with 13 points with 12 rebounds.

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