ANTIPOLO: University of the Philippines (UP) warded off a late University of the East (UE) rally for a 62-56 win on Saturday to clinch its fourth win in Season 82 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament at the Ynares Center here.
The Red Warriors kept on hacking at the Fighting Maroons’ lead, 39-27, and managed to the cut the deficit to a hairline, 56-57.
But UP’s defense and Jaydee Tungcab’s triple kept UE at bay as the Fighting Maroons held, 60-56, with only 1:38 left in the game.
“That’s what we’re really worried about that if we’re going to clamp down on Rey Suerte, the others will step up and that’s just what happened. All the rest like (Alex) Diakhite, (Nick) Abanto [and] (Neil) Tolentino stepped up to the plate and scored for them,” Fighting Maroons coach Bo Perasol told reporters.
“Our intention was really to limit their output. They’re number three in scoring, number one in fastbreak points. We had lots of lapses, but in the end, it was Jaydee (Tungcab) who saved us with his three-point shot at the corner.”
The Red Warriors failed to deliver in their next possessions, allowing UP to escape.
Nigerian Bright Akhuetie scattered 16 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals while Javi Gomez de Liaño notched 15 points and three boards. Rookie Kobe Paras added 12 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two assists for UP.
The Fighting Maroons improved with a 4-1 win-loss record for second place.
UP limited UE’s main guy Rey Suerte to a season-low four points on 2-out-of-15 shooting from the field. Suerte averages 22.8 points per game, the league’s best.
Senegalese Alex Diakhite led the Warriors with 21 points and 17 rebounds but his efforts weren’t enough as the Red Warriors dropped to a 1-4 win-loss record.
UP 62 — Akhuetie, 16; Ja. Gomez de Liano, 15; Paras, 12; Rivero, 7; Tungcab, 4; Ju. Gomez de Liano, 3; Manzo, 3; Webb, 2; Murrell, 0; Prado, 0 and Spencer, 0
UE 56 — Diakhite, 21; Abanto, 9; Tolentino, 8; Antiporda, 6; Pagsanjan, 6; Suerte, 4; Cruz, 2; Manalang, 0; Mendoza, 0 and Natividad, 0
Quarters: 23-15, 39-27, 46-42 and 62-56