MANILA, Philippines – The undermanned UP Fighting Maroons snapped a two-game losing streak in the 2019 FilOil Preseason Cup with a 68-62 squeaker over the CEU Scorpions on Saturday, May 25.
Playing without team stars Kobe Paras, Ricci Rivero and Juan Gomez de Liaño, graduating guard Jun Manzo led the charge with 17 points, 6 steals, 3 assists and 3 steals. UAAP Season 81 MVP Bright Akhuetie cruised to a 13-marker, 7-board game to help UP rise to 3-2 for the season.
However, it was Fil-Aussie swingman James Spencer who played the hero role after a clutch triple with 25 seconds left to seal a four-point cushion, 66-62. He made the most of an expanded role and finished with 11 points and 9 boards on a 3-of-4 shooting from deep.
“Sometimes you have mixed feelings with these kinds of games,” shared head coach Bo Perasol. “You don’t want it to be close but sometimes, you develop character especially with the guys we have right now. It’s important that they acquire those kinds of experiences.”
CEU big man Maodo Diouf powered the Scorpions’ 9-2 comeback late in the 4th and got as near as one, 62-63, off a Diouf putback with 1:18 left in regulation.
However, Spencer followed up for UP with his killer trey and sank two free throws off the duty foul to seal the deal.
Diouf carried CEU with 28 points, 13 rebounds with 4 blocks. Judel Fuentes chipped in 13 markers and 5 boards as the Scorpions fell to a 2-2 slate.
To cap off the game day, the San Sebastian Stags kept their record spotless in 3 appearances after outlasting a gutsy Mapua Cardinals squad in overtime, 100-95.
Allyn Bulanadi led the way for Baste with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals while his trusty partner-in-crime RK Ilagan chipped in 22 markers, 3 boards and 3 assists.
Mapua refused to fold in the endgame and forced overtime with a 12-3 run, ending with a Jasper Salanga layup off a crafty spin move and pass by Laurenz Victoria.
However, Bulanadi and Ilagan combined for 16 of the Stags’ 18 points in the extra period to help fend off the pesky Cardinals.
Off a crucial turnover by Eric Jabel in the final minute, Ilagan raced back the other way and sank a clutch and-one layup to put the Stags ahead for good, 98-93.
Prospect big man Warren Bonifacio led 1-4 Mapua with a 19-point, 11-rebound double-double while Jabel chipped in 14 markers and 4 boards.
The Adamson Soaring Falcons, meanwhile, clamped down on the Letran Knights for a wire-to-wire 89-85 win.
Veteran sniper Jerrick Ahanmisi led 5 Falcons in double-digit scoring with 17 points , 4 rebounds and 4 assists. Jerom Lastimosa added 15 markers in 18 minutes for the 3-1 Falcons while Simon Camacho chipped in 11 points, 5 boards and 3 blocks.
The Falcons kept the Knights out of reach by establishing a 12-point lead early in the 2nd quarter, 45-33, off an easy layup by Joem Sabandal.
Adamson then kept this distance multiple times in the 3rd quarter until Allen Mina pushed Letran within 4, 85-89, at the 11-second mark of the payoff period.
The Knights’ pressure defense off the Falcons’ inbound then forced a key turnover, but team captain Jerrick Balanza failed to drain a wide-open triple before time expired.
Depsite the crucial miss, Balanza still led Letran with 20 points in 25 minutes while King Caralipio added 11 markers as the Knights fell to a 4-2 record. – Rappler.com