UP survives scrappy FEU to start finals return campaign

JR Isaga
UP survives scrappy FEU to start finals return campaign
Ricci Rivero and the UP Maroons hold off the FEU Tamaraws’ gritty comeback





MANILA, Philippines – No Kobe Paras, no problem.

Javi Gomez de Liaño caught fire in his very first game as the UP Fighting Maroons survived the FEU Tamaraws, 61-55, to start their UAAP Season 82 campaign at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, September 4.

The older Gomez de Liaño brother – who finished with a game-high 22 points – sparked a 38-27 lead in the 1st half built on a staggering 16 points in the first two quarters.

However, FEU came storming back midway through the 3rd to inch within 3 points, 41-44, off a 10-4 run.

Both teams traded buckets and stops until the Tamaraws eventually tied the game at 55-all off an Ino Comboy free throw with 4:06 left in regulation.

But the Maroons – the surprise runner-up to two-time champion Ateneo last season – kept their poise as reigning season MVP Bright Akhuetie broke a scoring drought from both sides with a short hook for the 57-55 lead with 1:35 left.

Branrey Bienes launched a potential go-ahead triple with 26 seconds left but it clanked off. UP captain Jun Manzo responded by sealing the game with 4 straight free throws off duty fouls to save their debut game.

Paras missed the Maroons’ opening game reportedly due to injury.  

Ricci Rivero also impressed in his UP debut, flashing a highlight-worthy slam early in the game.

The Scores

UP 61 – Ja. Gomez de Liaño 22, Manzo 9, Akhuetie 7, Rivero 7, Murrell 6, Ju. Gomez de Liano 6, Webb 3, Prado 1, Mantilla 0, Tungcab 0, Spencer 0.

FEU 55 – Bienes 9, Gonzales 8, Tchuente 8, Comboy 8, Tuffin 6, Torres 6, Cani 5, Ebona 3, Celzo 2, Alforque 0.

Quarters: 20-17, 38-27, 47-44, 61-55.

– Rappler.com

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