collegiate basketball

Familiar foes: La Salle, UP fight over another collegiate hoops crown

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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Familiar foes: La Salle, UP fight over another collegiate hoops crown

MAIN MAN. UP's Francis Lopez in action against FEU in the preseason semifinals.


The La Salle Green Archers and UP Fighting Maroons set up another clash, months after colliding for the UAAP crown and a preseason title

MANILA, Philippines – The cream of the crop of college basketball will meet anew. 

After escaping their respective semifinal matchups, reigning UAAP champion De La Salle University Green Archers arranged a clash with Season 86 runner-up UP Fighting Maroons for the FilOil EcoOil Preseason championship. 

The Green Archers took down the NCAA’s lone semifinal squad Letran Knights, 91-87, to secure their finals berth, while the Fighting Maroons breezed past the FEU Tamaraws, 89-77, on Sunday, June 9. 

“We will not play to beat UP. We will play to play our game,” said La Salle head coach Topex Robinson.

“That is the only thing we are in control of. The way we are going to prepare is the [same] way as when we prepare in the rest of our other games,” Robinson added.

“We are just up for the challenge, especially when it is against UP.”

Jonnel Policarpio led La Salle with 19 points, 9 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Henry Agunnane, the only foreign student-athlete in the game, dominated with 19 markers and 12 boards. 

Meanwhile, UAAP season 86 MVP Kevin Quiambao notched 10 points, 12 rebounds, and 5 assists to ward off the Knights’ last-gasp efforts in the final three minutes. 

Leading by 14 points with only three minutes left, La Salle endured Letran’s 13-2 run, which pulled the Knights closer to three after a Joven Baliling triple with nine seconds left. 

Letran, however, ran out of time as La Salle’s Lian Romiro drained a free throw in the final two ticks to seal the win. 

The preseason championship game is scheduled for Wednesday, June 12. 

In the opening game, the Fighting Maroons leaned on Francis Lopez, as he scored 22 points and 7 rebounds, while JD Cagulangan put up 13 markers and 9 assists to dominate FEU.

“Maturity has been different with this team,” said UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon, comparing themselves to the team that lost in the Season 86 finals.

“Part of success and failure is maturity, so that is what we are trying to be consistent about every day for the team,” he added. 

UP ruled last year’s preseason cup before losing to La Salle in Game 3 of the UAAP Season 86 finals.

Cagulangan, who inherited the team captain duties from CJ Cansino, downplays UP’s matchup against La Salle. Instead, he hopes the championship game will be a barometer of where they are now as a team. 

“There is still some motivation because they won against us in the last finals. But, we need to focus on building habits and build our culture,” said Cagulangan in Filipino.

The Fighting Maroons overpowered the Green Archers on the tournament’s opening day, 89-77.

The Scores

First Game

UP 89 — Lopez 22, Cagulangan 13, Abadiano 8, Alter 8, Bayla 8, Belmonte 6, Ududo 6, Alarcon 5, Torculas 4, Stevens 3, Torres 3, Briones 3, Rivero 0, Walker 0, Tan 0.

FEU 77 — Pre 20, Bautista 16, Pasaol 11, Konateh 9, Daa 8, Godinez 7, Alforque 4, Bagunu 2, Taboctaboc 0, Ona, Gordon 0, Felipe 0, Montemayor 0, Beato 0.

Quarters: 27-26, 43-38, 70-60, 89-77.

Second Game

La Salle 91 — Agunanne 19, Policarpio 19, Gollena 11, Quiambao 10, Ramiro 8, Dungo 6, Abadam 4, Macalalag 4, Austria 4, Marasigan 2, Buenaventura 2, Alian 2, Cortez 0, Gaspay 0, Rubico 0.

Letran 87 — Manalili 13, Baliling 13, Montecillo 11, Galoy 11, Cuajao 11, Go 8, Jumao-As 6, Nunag 6, Dimaano 6, Pradela 2, Garupil 0, Tangkay 0, Alarcon 0, Brillantes 0.

Quarters: 33-24, 56-43, 74-56, 91-87.


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