University of the Philippines (UP) continued its impressive showing by stunning De La Salle University, 71-66, to stay unbeaten in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Jet Manuel posted 14 points, five rebounds and five assists while Paul Desiderio chipped in 13 markers, four boards and three assists for the Fighting Maroons, who rolled to a 2-0 start.
“It was a total team effort. Sobrang ganda ng contribution ng team, ‘yung coaching staff. We all played well. We are looking for more wins,” said Manuel.
Rookie Piero Longa added 10 including six from thre three-point area while Diego Dario and Henry Asilum combined for 16.
“Everyone in the team has a role. Me and Paul, we accepted our roles and yung roles ng bawat isang members ng team that’s what we played out today and it’s a good outcome,” Manuel added.
The Green Archers fell to 1-1.
Sophomore Paolo Rivero led La Salle with 15 and rookie Andrei Caracut had 12. Veteran Jeron Teng was limited to just 10 so as Jason Perkins, who produced a measly five-point output in 30 minutes of play.
“I just told the boys that Jeron Teng will do at least 12 points, 15 points or even 20 points every game. So, we just limit the supporters of Jeron like Caracut and Perkins. Kapag na-limit namin ‘yun, we have a good chance of winning this game,” narrated UP rookie mentor Rensy Bajar.
La Salle actually dominated the rebounding department, grabbing 50 against UP’s 37. The Green Archers, however, committed 20 turnovers, enabling the Fighting Maroons to convert 13 points out of those errors.
The last time UP had a 2-0 start was in 2005 when they ironically beat La Salle (61-56) and University of Santo Tomas (69-66).
It was also UP’s first victory against La Salle in six years when the Fighting Maroons handed a close 83-78 decision against the Green Archers in 2009.
In the second game, UST sruvived Far Eastern University, 72-71, to join UP on top of the standings with a clean 2-0 mark.
“The boys played very well today. Yung puso nila nandun, they want to win so ayun ang nangyari kanina hindi bumigay hanggang sa huli,” said UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz.
Ed Daquioag topscored anew for the Growling Tigers with 18 points with Southeast Asian Games veteran Kevin Ferrer contributing 13 and Cameroonian Karim Abdul adding 12.
The Tamaraws, who got 17 from Mark Belo and 13 from Roger Pogoy, suffered their first loss in two games.