UAAP Basketball

UP exacts revenge over lone first-round conqueror NU for solo first place

JR Isaga
UP exacts revenge over lone first-round conqueror NU for solo first place

BIG WIN. UP star Zavier Lucero carries the Maroons to a strong second-round start.

UAAP

UP – led by Zavier Lucero and Cyril Gonzales – holds its UAAP Season 85 first-round tormentor NU scoreless in the final four minutes to take solo first place after the revenge win

MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons started their UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament second round run with an all-important 75-63 revenge win over lone first-round tormentor NU Bulldogs at the Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, October 30.

Season 84 Mythical Team member Zavier Lucero starred anew with game-highs of 16 points built on 5-of-8 shooting from three, plus 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 block to help lift UP to a solo first place with a 7-1 record.

However, the story of the game was reserve guard Cyril Gonzales, who dropped 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter alone, including the dagger trey with 47 seconds left to give the Maroons a 73-63 lead to highlight a final 13-0 burst from down 62-63 at the 4:33 mark.

Prior to that rally, the game was as expectedly close as it can get after UP recovered from an 11-point NU lead, 38-27, late in the first half, and seized a 49-42 gap midway through the third quarter off a 15-2 swing.

The Bulldogs last led, 63-62, halfway through the final frame off a Justin Palacelio and-one conversion before Gonzales and Lucero conspired to put the Maroons away for good.

“Like in our previous games, I really think that our defense in the third quarter changed the flow of the game,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde.

“We tied it up on defense unlike the first half where NU had a lot of dribble penetrations. Guys adjusted well, and we were able to prevent the more penetrations like what happened in the first half.

Scrappy forward Mike Malonzo led the Bulldogs’ balanced effort with 12 points and 6 rebounds, while Steve Nash Enriquez scored 11 off the bench with 3 boards, 2 assists, and 2 steals in just 17 minutes on the floor.

Although NU outrebounded UP, 47-34, the Maroons – as Monteverde said – outplayed the Bulldogs on defense by forcing 12 more turnovers, 26-14, for 19 points off their miscues.

UP returns on Wednesday, November 2, at the Mall of Asia Arena for a highly anticipated 1 pm match against the Adamson Soaring Falcons, while NU faces another tough challenge in the Ateneo Blue Eagles at the 6:30 pm main event.

The Scores

UP 75 – Lucero 16, Gonzales 15, Spencer 11, Tamayo 8, Galinato 8, Diouf 5, Cagulangan 4, Abadiano 4, Fortea 3, Alarcon 1, Calimag 0, Ramos 0, Lina 0.

NU 63 – Malonzo 12, Enriquez 11, Yu 9, John 8, Baclaan 7, MAnansala 4, Galinato 3, Palacielo 3, Figueroa 2, Clemente 2, Minerva 2, Mahinay 0, Tibayan 0.

Quarters: 21-22, 37-40, 54-52, 75-63.

– Rappler.com

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