MANILA, Philippines – University of the East played spoiler as the Red Warriors slipped past a University of the Philippines side that unveiled new recuit Ricci Rivero.
The former La Salle hotshot wore the UP jersey for the first time and erupted for 34 points, but the Red Warriors proved steadier down the stretch for a 69-68 triumph in the 2018 Milcu Sports Basketball presented by Got Skills Adidas Summer Showcase.
Despite the Maroons' strong start, the Red Warriors rallied behind swingman Chris Conner and big man Wilson Bartolome, who finished with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Forward Rey Acuno was right there with them and scored 10 points of his own while rookie guard Jojo Antiporda chipped in 9 markers on Friday, June 22, at the Buddha Care Gym in Quezon City.
Rivero, who joined the Maroons just last month, was on the mark from start to finish for an impressive 63.6 clip from the field. But he didn't get much help from his teammates as no one else finished in double-digits.
The Warriors improved to 5-3 while the Maroons absorbed back-to-back losses to slip to 4-4.
Last Tuesday, the Maroons also fell to National University, 64-59, at the Trinity University Gym.
Sweet-shooting forward JP Cauilan was the lone double-digit scorer with 14 points, but his efforts were more than enough to tow the Bulldogs to 5-4.
Meanwhile, Letran powered its way to the top spot after outmuscling La Salle, 72-67.
Wing player Allen Mina showed the way for the now 7-2 Knights with 17 points, while bigs Gerwin Sangalang and Daryl Pascual combined for 22 points, 13 rebounds, and two blocks.
Transferee guard Jordan Bartlett was the lone bright spot for the Green Archers with 24 points.
La Salle, which came off a 71-56 domination of Manuel L. Quezon University 3 days earlier, improved to 5-3.
UE (69) – Conner 14, Bartolome 11, Acuno 10, Antiporda 9, Varilla 6, Lacap 6, Maloles 4, Dimayuga 3, Gagate 2, Manalang 2, Beltran 2, Gallardo 0, Strait 0, Sobrevega 0, Cullar 0, Guion 0.
UP (68) – Rivero 34, Madrigal 9, Battad 7, Gomez de Liano 5, Gregorio 5, Ong 4, Malik 2, Ollano 2, Malingin 0.
Quarter Scores: 16-27, 33-34, 56-52, 69-68.