collegiate basketball

‘Just another game’: UP overcomes La Salle to rule preseason tourney

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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‘Just another game’: UP overcomes La Salle to rule preseason tourney

TAKE CHARGE. UP's JD Cagulangan goes for a layup against La Salle in the preseason basketball finale.

FILOIL ECOOIL SPORTS

Even as UP completes a huge comeback over La Salle to reign in preseason basketball, the goal remains clear for the Fighting Maroons – reclaim the UAAP crown

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines refused to make a big deal of another preseason title.

Rallying from a 20-point hole, the UP Fighting Maroons exacted vengeance on UAAP champion La Salle Green Archers, 69-66, completing a sweep of the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup on Wednesday, June 12. 

However, for Francis Lopez, the preseason championship is merely a run-up to their ultimate target – reclaiming the UAAP crown. 

“This is not really a goal. Our goal is the UAAP, not this one, so it’s just another game for us,” said Lopez, who lifted UP in the second half.  

The Fighting Maroons outscored the Green Archers, 46-23, in the second half, to erase La Salle’s 20-point halftime advantage, 43-23, en route to their second straight preseason title. 

JD Cagulangan led the Maroons in scoring with 13 points, along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists. 

Meanwhile, Gerry Abadiano ignited UP’s second-half surge, putting up 7 straight unanswered points bridging the third and fourth frame to close the gap down the stretch and finish with 12 markers. 

Down 54-58 with eight minutes left, the Fighting Maroons jumped on a 9-0 burst, punctuated by Lopez’s fastbreak dunk at the 4:31 mark of the final period, to open up a five-point UP lead. 

La Salle then regained the lead with under two minutes remaining after Kevin Quiambao nailed a trey, swinging the momentum to the Archers, 65-64. 

UP’s student foreign-athlete Dikachi Udodo answered with a tip-in to snag back the cushion before Cagulangan’s layup, and a Quiambao miss from long range, sealed the preseason title for the Fighting Maroons. 

“It’s really our resilience,” said UP captain Abadiano in Filipino. “It is something that we can always bring into the UAAP season.”

The Fighting Maroons will fly to Serbia on Thursday for a two-week training before heading to Korea next month.

Quiambao posted 14 points and 10 rebounds on 6-of-25 shooting from the field to pace La Salle.

CJ Austria also chipped in 14 markers as no other Archer scored in double-digits. 

La Salle eked out a 29-6 second-quarter blast to grasp control early, albeit for naught. 

In the battle for third, the FEU Tamaraws warded off the Letran Knights, 80-78, to deny the NCAA team of a podium finish.

The Scores

First Game

FEU 80 — Bautista 21, Alforque 19, Pre 13, Konateh 11, Bagunu 6, Daa 5, Ona 3, Godinez 2, Buenaventura 0, Taboctaboc 0, Gordon 0, Felipe 0, Montemayor 0, Beato 0.

Letran 78 — Cuajao 27, Manalili 15, Dimaano 10, Go 8, Galoy 5, Baliling 5, Montecillo 3, Pradela 3, Ariar 2, Jumao-As 0, Nunag 0, Garupil 0, Tangkay 0, Alarcon 0, Brillantes 0.

Quarters: 24-17, 49-38, 62-67, 80-78.

Second Game

UP 69 — Cagulangan 13, Abadiano 12, Alarcon 9, Ududo 9, Lopez 8, Torres 7, Torculas 7, Felicilda 2, Alter 2, Stevens 0, Walker 0, Bayla 0, Briones 0, Belmonte 0, Tan 0.

La Salle 66 — Quiambao 14, Austria 14, Ramiro 7, Agunanne 7, Gollena 7, Dungo 6, Policarpio 4, Macalalag 3, Marasigan 2, Cortez 2, Zamora 0, Buenaventura 0, Gaspay 0, Abadam 0, Rubico 0, Alian 0

Quarters: 17-14, 23-43, 48-53, 69-66.

– Rappler.com

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