ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons averted a late-game disaster to squeak past the UE Red Warriors, 62-56, in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Ynares Center on Saturday, September 21.
Bright Akhuetie, Javi Gomez de Liaño, and Kobe Paras took charge as the Maroons stretched their winning streak to 3 games.
UE threatened within a point , 56-57, with 1:57 to go off an open layup from rookie Harvey Pagsanjan.
But UP’s Jaydee Tungcab responded on the other end with an open three to get the Maroons back up 4 points, 60-56.
Jun Manzo then sealed UE’s fate off a clutch block on an ice-cold Rey Suerte’s three-ball attempt with just 30 ticks left on the way to the win that secured the Maroons solo second at 4-1.
“We had lots of lapses, but in the end it was Jaydee that saved us with his three-point shot in the corner,” said UP coach Bo Perasol, noting that Tungcab’s contribution was beyond his 4-point and 2-rebound output.
“His game-long brillance of defending Rey Suerte helped us a lot.”
Akhuetie paced the Maroons with 16 points on top of rebounds, 3 assists, and 3 steals.
Gomez de Liaño and Paras continued their solid plays for the Maroons to finish with a combined 27 markers.
Facing a 12-point deficit at the half, the Warriors stormed back in the 3rd with a much-needed 12-5 run, highlighted by back-to-back triples from seldom-used guard Jojo Antiporda.
UE then cut this lead to within two points multiple times in the 4th, most recently at the 6:55 mark off an Alex Diakhite layup.
Warriors forward Nick Abanto got them within one, 52-53, off a free throw with 5:38 to go, but UP got crucial charities on the other end to move up 5, 57-52, at the four-minute mark and kept UE at bay in the closing minutes.
Suerte, the game hero in UE’s first victory, struggled with a 2-of-15 shooting clip to finish with just 4 points in 36 minutes of action.
UP 62 – Akhuetie 16, Ja. Gomez de Liaño 15, Paras 12, Rivero 7, Tungcab 4, Ju. Gomez de Liano 3, Manzo 3, Webb 2, Murrell 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0.
UE 56 – Diakhite 21, Abanto 9, Tolentino 8, Antiporda 6, Pagsanjan 6, Suerte 4, Cruz 2, Manalang 0, Mendoza 0, Natividad 0.
Quarters: 23-15, 39-27, 46-42, 62-56.
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