UP holds off DLSU late to remain unbeaten
MANILA, Philippines – The magic continues for the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons.
UP held off a late rally from the De La Salle University Green Archers, 71-66, to earn their second straight victory of season 78 on Wednesday, September 9 at Smart Araneta Coliseum. The last time UP had started a season 2-0 was 2005, according to UAAP statician Pong Ducanes. Coincidentally, they had also beaten DLSU for their second win that year, which took place July 14, 2005.
DLSU drops to 1-1 with the loss.
Jett Manuel led the Maroons with 14 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists, while Paul Desiderio finished with 13 points and 4 boards. Piero Longa also played well, contributing 10 points in the win.
As a team, UP shot 41% from the floor and 32% from downtown. They also forced La Salle to 20 turnovers and a paltry 3-of-24 shooting from long range.
“Napakasarap. Yung feeling namin sa ngayon, hindi ko masabi, basta napakasaya namin,” UP rookie head coach Rensy Bajar said after the game.
(It feels so good. That’s how we feel now. I can’t explain it. We’re just really happy.)
His team has already improved on their 1-27 record from the past two UAAP seasons.
“What I can is it’s a total team effort… coaching staff, the team, we all played well and it feels really good to be back here and to win more than one game, and, yeah, we are looking for more wins,” said Manuel. The Maroons assisted on 14 of their 26 field goals.
UP was up just two entering the second period, but a 25-14 quarter gave them a 13-point cushion in the half that lasted for the most part of the next quarter and a half.
La Salle rallied in the final quarter and at one point cut the deficit to 5 thanks to the strong play of Prince Rivero, who registered 15 points and 11 boards.
After Andrew Harris hit two free throws to extend his team’s lead to 6, 67-61, La Salle made a crucial error when Jeron Teng couldn’t cleanly catch an inbound pass. After Agustini Amar swiped the ball, Teng was forced to commit his fifth foul.
The fourth-year star finished with 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting. DLSU rookie Andrei Caracut had his second strong game with 12 points and 5 boards.
Henry Asilum then hit two more free throws to put UP ahead 69-61, essentially sealing the win.
“I told the team that Jeron Teng will do 12 points, 15 points, even 20 points every game, so we just limit the supporters of Jeron Teng, like for example Andre Caracut, [Jason] Perkins,” said Bajar. After registering a double-double in his team’s opening game against NU, Perkins put up just 5 points against UP.
Thomas Torres also misfired all game for La Salle, as he registered 8 points but went 2-of-12 from the field.
The win against La Salle was UP’s first back-to-back victory since 2006, when they defeated UST and UE in succession. The win also snapped the Fighting Maroons’ 10-game losing skid to the Green Archers.
UP (71): Manuel 14, Desiderio 12, Longa 10, Dario 9, Asilum 7, Moralde 5, Harris 4, Vito 3, Amar 2, Gallarza 2, Prado 2, Juruena 0, Kone 0
DLSU (66): Rivero 15, Caracut 12, Teng 10, Sargent 8, Torres 8, Go 5, Perkins 5, Muyang 3, Navarro 0, Tratter 0
Quarter scores: 16-14, 41-28, 54-42, 71-66 – Rappler.com