UAAP Basketball

Ricci Rivero sparks late UP rally over NU as Maroons start win streak

JR Isaga
Ricci Rivero sparks late UP rally over NU as Maroons start win streak

VETERAN SPARK. Ricci Rivero leads UP's late rally over NU for its second straight win.

UAAP Season 84 Media Team

Ricci Rivero sparks a pivotal fourth-quarter rally as UP wins its second straight UAAP Season 84 game at the expense of scrappy NU

MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons kept up their winning run in the UAAP Season 84 as they outgunned the feisty NU Bulldogs, 80-70, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Thursday, March 31.

With the victory, the Maroons rose to 2-1 in the fast-paced season, while the Bulldogs fell to 1-2.

Ricci Rivero once again showed off his refined veteran skillset on both ends, as he led all scorers with 19 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, plus a game-high plus-minus of +23.

Carl Tamayo added 13 with 8 boards, while do-it-all guard Joel Cagulangan scattered 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 dimes after a 9-assist, 5-steal showing against UST.

Off a small 55-53 lead to start the fourth quarter, Rivero led a pivotal 11-0 rally ending with a steal and score for the biggest lead of the game at 13, 66-53, with 6:55 left.

Reyland Torres managed to spark an 8-1 fightback to get within six, 63-69, but the Bulldogs’ last stand was quickly ended with an untimely Janjan Felicilda unsportsmanlike foul on Rivero, who sank the two charities for a 76-67 separation at the 2:39 mark.

NU just couldn’t recover in time as Tamayo shut the door with a beautiful revers layup with 66 ticks left for an 80-68 lead.

Head coach Goldwin Monteverde, given his high, championship-caliber standards, was not fully pleased with how the game turned out for his boys after yet another slow start.

“I think with this third game, we need to correct that slow start, but we were able to pick it up through the course of the game. This is something we need to take a look at,” he said.

Michael Malonzo led the losing effort with 11 points, while Torres added 10 in just 13 minutes off the bench.

Veteran John Lloyd Clemente was held to just 9 points on 3-of-11 shooting for NU, while UAAP juniors MVP Jake Figueroa bottomed out with no points on a 0-of-6 clip, albeit with 7 boards and 2 assists.

UP will try to make it three straight wins on Saturday, April 2, against the struggling UE Red Warriors at 1 pm, while NU will try to bounce back against the FEU Tamaraws at 10 am.

The Scores

UP 80 – Rivero 19, Tamayo 13, Cagulangan 9, Fortea 8, Cansino 8, Spencer 6, Lucero 5, Diouf 4, Alarcon 4, Catapusan 2, Abadiano 2, Ramos 0, Lina 0.

NU 70 – Malonzo 11, Torres 10, Clemente 9, Mahinay 9, Felicilda 8, Ildefonso 7, Enriquez 4, Galinato 4, Tibayan 4, Joson 2, Manansala 2, Figueroa 0, Minerva 0, Yu 0.

Quarters: 20-25, 42-39, 55-53, 80-70.