MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons kept rolling in the FilOil Flying V Preseason Cup, dropping the reeling Gilas Pilipinas 2023 cadets, 78-72, in San Juan, Tuesday, May 8.
Although the collegiate all-star squad entered the 4th quarter up 5, 58-53, the gutsy Maroons rode the hot hand of fellow Gilas cadet Juan Gomez de Liano en route to a game-sealing 20-4 run, 76-69. Veteran big man Jerson Prado came up with a huge offensive board and tip-in at the final minute to give UP the 5-point lead.
Cebuano floor general Jun Manzo also waxed hot from the field, draining 11 of his 22 points in the third and steered the sinking Maroon ship back from a 16-point deficit, 34-50.
The younger Gomez de Liano tied Manzo with 22 points of his own, to go along with 8 rebounds and 4 assists.
Gilas’ first half, however, was in stark contrast to their second, as they frequently rotated the ball and drained their open shots. Arvin Tolentino and Ricci Rivero created a deadly one-two punch in the second quarter and led the cadets to a 15-4 run, 35-22, ending with a patented euro-step layup from the former La Salle star. At the half, Gilas was still up big, 41-27, but it all came crashing down from there.
Tolentino finished with a team-high 14 points for Gilas, along with 4 triples and 5 boards. Kobe Paras came off the bench and chipped in 8 points, a steal and a block in just 15 minutes off the bench.
In the earlier games, the Colegio San Juan de Letran (CSJL) Knights narrowly defeated a depleted Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates squad, 78-74.
The Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws also squeaked past a gutsy Jose Rizal University (JRU) Heavy Bombers team, 87-85, to remain undefeated in Group B.
Finally, the National University (NU) Bulldogs got on the win column after a 96-84 drubbing of the Emilio Aguinaldo College (EAC) Generals.
La Salle 3-0
San Beda 2-1