MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines’ champion core came through as the Fighting Maroons slipped past the Ateneo Blue Eagles in overtime, 76-71, in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, October 16 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Carl Tamayo and Malick Diouf took charge for UP in the extra period to spoil the clutch outing of Forthsky Padrigao, who came to Ateneo’s rescue late in regulation to force overtime in the thrilling rematch of last season’s finals.
Tamayo was a man on a mission for the Fighting Maroons as he dropped a monster double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds.
James Spencer backstopped Tamayo with 14 points, while big men Malick Diouf and Zav Lucero added 12 and 10 markers, respectively.
JD Cagulangan, the Game 3 finals hero who missed UP’s first four outings due to a left hamstring injury, also made his presence felt in his return, tallying an all-around stat line 7 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 4 steals.
Padrigao carried his team as the Blue Eagles suffered a scoring drought in the fourth quarter before the sophomore guard fired clutch baskets, the last on a triple with 36.7 seconds left that tied the game at 64 and forced overtime.
But the Maroons opened the extra period with a 7-2 spurt – 5 coming from Tamayo – for a 71-66 lead and held on the rest of the way.
Dave Ildefonso paced the Blue Eagles in the loss with his own double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds. Padrigao finished with 15 points, while Ange Kouame scored 10.
With the crucial win, the Maroons grabbed a share of the top spot at 4-1 with the NU Bulldogs – the unlikely co-leader who scored a huge 80-75 upset win over the defending champions last Wednesday.
The Blue Eagles fell to third in a three-way tie with La Salle and UE at 3-2.
“I believe that we played better as a team,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde.
“We moved the ball well, we really tried to work on our offense,” added Monteverde as the Fighting Maroons recorded 20 assists as a team in the ball game.
After a back-and-forth affair between both teams in the early goings of the first half, Ildefonso caught fire late in the second period and poured in 8 of his 22 points to spearhead Ateneo’s 18-9 run before entering the break.
With Ateneo on top by 5, 38-33, to open the second half, it was Tamayo who waxed hot this time around, dropping 9 of his 20 points in the third quarter to help UP outscore Ateneo in that frame, 20-16.
Still trailing by a single point, 53-54, at the start of the final period, the Fighting Maroons then shifted into high gear and unleashed a fiery 10-2 run in the first three minutes to overtake the Blue Eagles by 7, 63-56.
UP, however, failed to protect its cushion as Ateneo responded with a crucial 8-1 run, capped by a Padrigao triple, to tie the game at 64-all.
Padrigao had a chance to win it all for Ateneo in the final possession of the fourth quarter following a turnover by Tamayo, but his potential-game winning triple failed to hit the mark.
In the extra period, with the score still knotted at 66 apiece with 2:19 to play, UP went on a decisive 5-0 run, thanks to back-to-back baskets by Diouf and Tamayo to create a much-needed separation from Ateneo, 71-66.
A late three-ball by Padrigao with 23.4 seconds once again gave the Blue Eagles some signs of life, but their comeback attempt came up short as Kai Ballungay missed on a triple that could’ve tied the score at 74-all, before Diouf iced the game with two charities.
UP looks to start another winning streak when it collides with UE in the third quadruple-header playdate of the season on Wednesday, October 19 at 4:30 pm.
Ateneo, meanwhile, aims to rediscover its winning ways when it takes on the Adamson Soaring Falcons that same day at 1 pm.
UP 76 – Tamayo 20, Spencer 14, Diouf 12, Lucero 10, Cagulangan 7, Abadiano 6, Galinato 4, Fortea 3, Gonzales 0, Alarcon 0, Calimag 0.
Ateneo 71 – Ildefonso 22, Padrigao 15, Kouame 10, Andrade 9, Ballungay 8, Koon 5, Chiu 2, Lazaro 0, Gomez 0, Garcia 0, Quitevis 0.
Quarters: 18-14, 33-38, 53-54, 64-64 (reg.), 76-71 (OT).