UAAP Basketball

Lucero goes off anew over feisty FEU as UP clinches longest win streak in 17 years

JR Isaga
Lucero goes off anew over feisty FEU as UP clinches longest win streak in 17 years

ONSLAUGHT. Zavier Lucero keeps his blazing-hot run going for UP.

UAAP SEASON 84 MEDIA TEAM

Zavier Lucero goes off for 16 of his 27 points in the third quarter against FEU as UP clinches a near two-decade best winning streak

MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons continued their historic rise through UAAP Season 84 with another cardiac 83-76 win over the scrappy FEU Tamaraws at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, April 9.

After their sixth straight win, their longest in 17 years, the Maroons wrapped up the first round at solo second with a 6-1 record, while the Tamaraws slid to a 3-4 slate.

Zavier Lucero, fresh off a 21-point, 14-rebound game, once again balled out of his mind as he scored a career-high 27, with 16 in the third quarter alone – on 11-of-16 shooting and 3-of-4 from three – plus 12 boards and 3 steals.

Thanks to Lucero’s third-quarter eruption, UP held control of the game deep into the final frame, but FEU was right there nipping at the heels after a Xyrus Torres fading three closed the gap to a single possession, 73-76, with 1:36 remaining.

However, the breaks of the game went the Maroons’ way as after Carl Tamayo missed his free throw off a three-point play opportunity, hulking FEU center Emman Ojuola got a case of butterfingers, fumbled the rebound out of bounds, and back to UP with 59 ticks left.

UP guard Joel Cagulangan took full advantage of the extra possession gifted by the Tamaraws, and skated to the hoop for the layup and the 80-74 gap with 45.1 seconds remaining.

Although FEU’s LJay Gonzales converted an open layup off the after-timeout play with 33.1 ticks left, UP veteran Ricci Rivero sealed the deal with an acrobatic and-one layup to set the final score with 14.1 seconds left in regulation.

Rivero finished with 10 points, all in the second half, after a scoreless game last time, while Carl Tamayo scored 12 with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, and a steal.

“I guess the first half tempo wasn’t favorable for us. We tried to play a more uptempo game,” admitted UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde after the Maroons streaked to six straight wins for the first time since Season 67.

“The defense at least got better in the second half, and the execution was better. We were kind of lost in the first half, but we recovered in the second.”

Gonzales finished his best game yet this season with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting and 8 rebounds, but just 2 assists, while Ojuola muscled his way to a 17-marker, 13-board double-double in more than 38 minutes of action.

UP will try to keep it going in the second round, and shoot for its seventh straight win against the now-formidable NU Bulldogs on Tuesday, April 12, 10 am, while FEU will try to even up its record once again versus the hurting Adamson Soaring Falcons at 12:30 pm.

The Scores

UP 83 – Lucero 27, Tamayo 12, Rivero 10, Cansino 7, Diouf 7, Fortea 6, Alarcon 5, Cagulangan 4, Abadiano 3, Spencer 2, Lina 0, Catapusan 0.

FEU 76 – Gonzales 20, Ojuola 17, Torres 17, Alforque 9, Abarrientos 8, Sandagon 3, Tempra 2, Sleat 0, Sajonia 0, Bienes 0, Celzo 0.

Quarters: 14-18, 31-32, 58-50, 83-76.

– Rappler.com

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