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MANILA, Philippines – A timely explosion by Harold Alarcon propelled the UP Fighting Maroons to the cusp of another UAAP men’s basketball title.
Alarcon is relieved to rediscover his scoring groove as he fired a game-high 21 points for the Fighting Maroons in a 97-67 demolition of the La Salle Green Archers in the Season 86 final opener on Wednesday, November 29.
“In the entire round one and round two, it felt like I had a hard time bringing my game out,” said Alarcon in Filipino. “I’m thankful that my shots are falling in the finals.”
Scoring in double figures in seven of the first 12 games of the season, the third-year guard fell into a shooting slump as he totaled just 10 points in the last three outings on a combined 5-of-14 clip.
Alarcon particularly struggled for UP in its Final Four ouster of Ateneo, putting up a season-low 2 points on a 1-of-5 shooting as the Fighting Maroons dethroned the Blue Eagles by way of a 57-46 thrashing.
But Alarcon rose to the occasion when it mattered most.
Alarcon joined hands with Francis Lopez in a key third quarter and ended the game missing just three of his nine shots and going 8-of-9 from the free throw line as he matched his season-high mark in points.
“We’re happy to be back in the finals. Now that we’re here, we’re doing our best to accomplish our goal, which is the championship,” said Alarcon.
Expected to be a marked man, Alarcon said he will take advantage of the extra attention he will receive as the Fighting Maroons shoot for a sweep in Game 2 on Sunday, December 3, at the Araneta Coliseum. (SCHEDULE: UAAP Season 86 basketball)
“I have teammates who can do what I do,” said Alarcon. – Rappler.com