UP loses third straight, gets swept by FEU

Photo by Summer Padilla

Text by Mark Kevin Reginio

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons extend their losing skid after falling against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Lady Tamaraws in straight sets, 23-25, 12-25, 19-25, in the first round of UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena, Saturday.

UP had a strong start in the opening set reaching the 20-point mark first, but the Lady Maroons’ defense scrambled late in the set as Lady Tamaraw Toni Basas fired three canons from the right to snatch the set away, 25-23.

The Morayta-based squad carried the momentum in the second to limit the Diliman-based team’s offense to  only 12 points. The Lady Tamaraws took a dominating 2-0 lead after taking the second set, 25-12.

UP’s team captain Tots Carlos carried the load in the second set scoring five of her 15 points in that set while Isa Molde was limited to only four points in the whole game.

The Lady Maroons had a little show in the start of the third set but was easily ended by Isa Molde’s consecutive attack errors to give the Lady Tamaraws a comfortable 7-point lead going to the second technical timeout.

Meanwhile, Heather Guino-o and Basas led the charge for FEU with 11 and 10 markers, respectively, while team captain Bernadette Pons contributed nine points, eight coming from attacks.

UP’s head coach Godfrey Okumu said the team has had problems with finishing a game, even a set.

“Again, our finishing has been a problem for a quite sometime now. I believe my glasses are half full. I’m gonna fill it in time,” he said after the game.

UP committed 35 unforced errors in total while FEU managed to limit their errors at 23 which is half of their mistakes against the defending champions, De La Salle University in their last match.

Lady Tamaraws’ head coach George Pascua was happy about the performance of her girls especially after minimizing their unforced errors.

“Na-lessen naman yung errors [and] na-meet din naman yung expectations namin,” he said.

FEU will next face the winless University of the East Lady Warriors while UP will face their Katipunan rival Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles.

Valentine’s heartbreak: UP gets rejected by Adamson

Photo by Luisa Morales

Text by Denver Del Rosario

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons suffered heartbreak today as they crumbled against the Adamson University (AdU) Lady Falcons in three sets, 9-25, 25-27, 20-25, in the UAAP women’s volleyball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

The Diliman squad underperformed throughout the game, getting overpowered by the Lady Falcons both in scoring and non-scoring departments.

Team captain Diana Carlos finished as the only Lady Maroon scoring double digits with 12 points.

On the other hand, Mylene Paat and Jema Galanza led the Lady Falcons with 15 and 14 points respectively. It was a team effort for Adamson with four players scoring double digits.

Blowout opening set

UP suffered from the get-go as the three-all mark saw a 12-point run from Adamson, including five service aces by Paat to take the dominating lead, 3-15.

The San Marcelino squad proved relentless in their offense against the Lady Maroons, with Galanza and Chiara Permentilla collaborating for the lead, 7-21.

A service ace by Paat closed the set for Adamson, with UP only achieving a single digit score, 9-25.

Tighter second set

The Lady Maroons refused to back down in the second, registering four deadlocks before the first technical timeout, 6-8, in favor of Adamson.

The Lady Falcons tried to pull away midway into the set, 13-18, courtesy of attacks by Galanza and aces by Joy Dacoron.

However, UP staged a comeback as they tied the game at 18, courtesy of errors by the Lady Falcons and aces by substitute setter Rem Cailing.

From that point, both teams saw seven deadlocks as they extended the set, 25-all. However, a drop by Galanza and an attacking error by Isa Molde ended the set, 25-27 to give Adamson a dominating 2-0 lead.

Falling short

The third set started close, with UP only behind by one point going into the first technical timeout, 7-8.

Heavy serves by the Lady Falcons got them ahead of the Lady Maroons going into the second technical timeout, 14-16.

The Diliman squad eventually lost steam at the end, with the set and the match concluded with an attacking error by Marian Buitre, 20-25.

Defense and confidence woes

The Lady Maroons struggled in their defense throughout the game, only registering 39% in the digging department compared to Adamson’s 51%.

The Diliman team also achieved only 31% in their reception, while the Lady Falcons registered 49%.

Coach Godfrey Okumu attributed the team’s dismal performance to the lack of confidence he observed during the game.

“The players lost confidence in the first set. This type of thing, we cannot train—we train skills,” he said. “We have to play strong and learn to relax, but it seems like it takes time for them to adjust as well.”

Okumu hopes his team learns from the loss to play better in the following games.

“If we can pass well, we’d have good offense,” he said. “I hope with time we become stronger and get better results.”

With the loss, UP loses ground in the team rankings with a 1-2 win-loss card.

The Lady Maroons will try to redeem themselves against the Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws this Saturday at the Filoil Flying V Arena.

UP falls in straight sets against defending champs DLSU

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons suffer their first defeat of the season, falling in straight sets against defending champions De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers, 21-25, 22-25, 24-26, yesterday at the FilOil Flying V Arena.


Reminiscent of UP’s first round win against the Lady Spikers last season, a sea of Maroon filled the seats in San Juan, a hopeful Diliman crowd pinning for another upset against the squad in green and white.

And contrary to what the sweep may suggest, it was a rather close and gritty game.

It was a back-and-forth affair at the start the match. Both teams made runs one after another to keep the opening set close.

A total of nine deadlocks kept UP at pace with the defending champions until late in the first when they were tied, 21-all.

But four straight points from Lady Spiker Tine Tiamzon gave the set to the Taft squad, 25-21.

DLSU started the second set strong with a 4-1 start, but the Lady Maroons were quick to recover and take the lead early in the second, 9-6

However, costly errors from the Diliman squad and a barrage of attacks and aces enabled the Lady Spikers to pull away, threatening to take the set, 24-19.

Just when the Lady Spikers looked poised to run away with the set, a late UP run had the Lady Maroons breathing down their necks, 22-24. But an attack from setter Michelle Cobb gave DLSU the 2-0 lead, 25-22.

Unfazed by their disadvantage, the Diliman squad started the third strong. Attacks from all directions of the Maroon offense gave DLSU a run for their money, with UP leading the defending champs 19-13.

It looked like the Lady Maroons were en route to make a comeback, but the Taft squad wasn’t about to let their lead go to waste.

With a rally of their own, DLSU crawled back into the set to inch closer to UP at 21-23.

The Lady Maroons were the first to come at set point, 24-21 and looked to extend the match to another set.

But an attack from DLSU skipper Majoy Baron, a costly error from Tots Carlos and three consecutive aces from Cobb eventually gave the Lady Spikers the match, 26-24.

UP head coach Godfrey Okumu lamented his team’s ability to finish sets, whether in the lead or coming from behind.

“We need to be more aggressive… in the way we defended, the way we spike, we have to be aggressive even in the way we serve,” Okumu said after the game.

UP’s loss came with a great discrepancy in service aces, with DLSU overpowering the Diliman squad 16-4 points in the service line.

“At the end of the day… it would’ve gone to any team. But experience played a factor and we’re going to work on that,” he added.

Lady Maroon skipper Carlos paced UP with 19 points, along with Isa Molde and Jessma Ramos with 10 and nine markers, respectively.

Meanwhile, DLSU had four players in double figures, with team captain Kim Dy and Tine Tiamzon leading the way with 13 apiece and Desiree Cheng and Cobb with 10 each.

The loss gives UP a 1-1 slate, and the Diliman squad will hope to bounce back when they face the Adamson Lady Falcons this Valentines’ Day at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

UP makes quick work of UE in Chuacuco’s debut

Photo by Reiven Pascasio

Text by Luisa Morales

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons starts their season with a bang.

Making quick work of the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, UP clinched a win in its season opener in straight sets (25-22, 25-15, 25-13) at the Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday.

The Diliman squad gifted their new head coach Hans Chuacuco his first victory in a spectacular fashion, dominating the Warriors in every area of the game.

It was a back-and-forth affair to start the match. Both squads traded attacks and errors to keep the opening set close with UE taking the lead late in the set, 21-22.

But the Maroons managed to pull away just in time, scoring four straight points to bag the first set, 25-22.

Carrying momentum from the first, State U came into the second set with a wild flurry of loaded serves and attacks to dominate early in the set, 8-1.

The Red Warriors were able to get back into the set. Making a run of their own, UE managed to inch a bit closer to the Diliman squad, 13-18.

Determined to take the dominating 2-0 lead, UP fired up a 7-2 run to finish the set, 25-15.

At the start of the third, the Warriors were able to play at pace with UP at the beginning of the set. However, costly errors and offensive firepower from the Maroons gave them the set and the match, 25-13.

UP head coach Chuacuco was more than satisfied with the performance of his squad in his debut.

“Actually akala namin may first game jitters kami, but di naman siya nag-materialize. As their new head coach, I’m very happy with how they performed,” Chuacuco said after the game.

It was an overall team effort from the Maroons with more than a few players contributing to the great performance.

Three Maroons scored double figures with UP skipper Jerry San Pedro leading the way with 12, followed by veteran Wendel Miguel and opposite hitter Mark Millete with 11 apiece.

UP hopes to ride the momentum and grab another win as they face the De La Salle University Green Spikers on Saturday, Feb. 10 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

UP outlasts UE in five-set thriller; gives Coach Okumu first win

Photo by Summer Padilla

Text by Nica Rhiana Hanopol

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Lady Maroons secured their first win of the season under new head coach Godfrey Okumu, after surviving a five-set match against the University of the East (UE) Lady Warriors, 25-19, 25-13, 21-25, 16-25, 15-8 at the Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday.

The Lady Maroons were off to a good start in the first set, with Isa Molde starting the scoring spree with five spikes and two block hits.

But it was comeback open spiker Justine Dorog who finished the set, 25-19, with two back-to-back aces.

Both teams traded errors in the second set, but the UP squad managed a 12-0 run towards the  end of the set, 24-13. Team Captain Tots Carlos led the pack with her loaded spike serves and back row attacks.

It was a nip and tuck game coming into the third set as either squads deny the ball to hit the ground, rallying at 11-11, 13-13, 18-18, 19-19, and 21-21.

The Lady Maroons looked poised to take the game in straight sets. Little did they know that it was far from over.

Committing 12 errors in the third set, the Diliman squad failed to play at pace with UE. With the Lady Warriors scoring a crucial run towards the end of the set.

Meanwhile, Dorog managed to stop the bleeding with two back-to-back kills in an attempt to swing the momentum back on the UP side. But UE outside hitter Judith Abil did damage from the service line until the Lady Warriors pulled away with a third set win, 25-21.

The rallies continued in the fourth set, where UP enjoyed lucky hits by Molde, Carlos, and Jessma Ramos, to keep the game close.

But UE veteran Shaya Adorador answered back with off-the-block hits that sustained the UE lead throughout the set. UE eventually pulled away late in the fourth courtesy of a flurry of errors from UP to force a fifth and deciding set.

Determined not to let the match slip away, UP entered the fifth set with a 5-1 lead with setter-spiker Ayel Estranero attacking on the first point. Meanwhile, rookie player Abbie Lim  made her UAAP debut for the UP squad for the first time as a service specialist in the deciding set.

“Let’s pass – that’s what I was telling them,” Coach Okumu said after he saw that his team was down.

Crucial attacks from skipper Tots Carlos and Isa Molde gave the Maroons enough firepower to  close the match, 15-8.

“Syempre nandun din yung medyo kinabahan kami pero sinabi namin na dapat kumalma kami,” said Carlos after the game.  

Despite garnering an overwhelming total of 46 errors in the match, State U’s firepower was enough to overcome the gritty Lady Warriors.

Carlos and Molde amassed 22 and 20 points, respectively, leading the UP Fighting Lady Maroons in attacks. Meanwhile, co-captain Estranero contributed 40 excellent sets.

The Lady Maroons are set to face the defending champions De La Salle University (DLSU) Lady Spikers on Saturday, February 10. The Lady Maroons hope for a repeat victory over the Taft squad after clinching a straight-set win against the Lady Spikers last season.

SPORTS COLUMN: Utak at Prinsipyo

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Denver Del Rosario

And it was uttered, “…all good things must come to an end, but all great things come back.”

A familiar beat of the drums echoed inside the MOA Arena, a familiar sea of maroon cheered in excitement.

Finally, they were back.

After their non-participation last year, the University of the Philippines (UP) Pep Squad took center stage again in the recently concluded UAAP Season 80 Cheerdance Competition. Donning the usual maroon highlighted with yellow and purple, the team’s performance was about the story of the iskolar ng bayan, a routine dedicated to the Diliman faithful for their unwavering support, despite the pressure and the backlash.

Many were shocked when the official list for last season’s cheerleading competition was released. Only seven schools were in the lineup—it was missing a familiar name, a competition staple, a team synonymous to the sport, a pep squad loved by all.

The UP Pep Squad made a bold and principled moved by skipping last season’s cheerleading competition, the first time the ‘pep squad ng bayan’ chose not to participate in the league’s history. At the day of the contest, the absence was greatly noted— seats were left unfilled, and the Araneta Coliseum was missing a familiar element.

After a third place finish in UAAP Season 78 with their ‘utak-puso’ routine, UP filed a protest questioning the overall results which “did not reflect adherence to the competition guidelines and criteria”. Despite their non-participation, the UP Pep Squad was given the opportunity to represent the country in last year’s Asian Cheerleading and Dancesport Championship, together with the UP Filipiniana Dance Group—they took home six medals.

The UP Pep Squad has always made a statement in their performances—and so did their absence.

One of the most decorated teams in UAAP history, the UP Pep Squad has always been in a league of their own. It isn’t just the high-level, gravity-defying stunts, or the way their energy fills up the entire arena—they make sure every performance banners an advocacy, a commentary to our society, a true mark of being an Iskolar ng Bayan.

As a sports fan, I was sad not to see UP Pep Squad compete last season, just because they have always brought a certain level of excitement–they always bring something new to the plate and set the bar for the competition. Everyone loves and respects them, regardless of whichever school they come from, because they have always surpassed what is expected of them. Bearing an advocacy means nothing in the official scores, but they always go further by sending out a message to the public. The cheerleading competition is one of the many times the UP community becomes driven by a purpose—for instance, a few years back, rainbow flags, girls lifting boys, a community advocating for equality. This has always set us apart from the others.

But this UP student has always been proud of his pep squad taking a stand, even if it meant them losing the opportunity to perform in the cheerleading stage. There is nothing wrong in questioning the system when you see something is wrong—their story is the story of the iskolar ng bayan, ang matapang at matalinong iskolar ng bayan, not afraid to address the status quo and stand for his principles. They may have lost a chance to regain their glory in the tournament, but they have represented the true essence of what a UP student should be, an individual of honor and integrity, and with that they have won. The Diliman community is proud and will always stand by them.

Their comeback this year, although sweet and momentous, was also difficult. Questions were left unresolved, and they were put in a situation where they had to choose between standing up for their principles or representing the university. But this year wasn’t really about winning for them; members would always say their performance was for the UP community. The decision, for them, felt easy to make.

The UP Pep Squad may have had its first non-podium finish in UAAP history, but it is more than that. It isn’t just about winning medals and trophies for the UP Pep Squad—it is about representing the ideals of the university and standing for something, that sometimes making a difference is more important than the spotlight.

#MAROONAKONGISKO: UP graces CDC anew

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Luisa Morales and Beatriz Zamora

UP’s back, shout it out.

Today, an entire arena watched with bated breath as the Maroons took center stage once more.

Eyes bright, fists clenched–it was not only the sea of maroon who were thirsty for another groundbreaking performance from the Pep Squad ng Bayan.

After a surprising third-place finish in 2015, the Diliman squad went on a year-long hiatus from the UAAP Cheerdance Competition. The team filed a formal complaint about the competition’s results which gave National University its third title in a row.

Clad in maroon and purple, the UP Pep Squad told the story of an iskolar ng bayan with the theme Maroon akong Isko, putting emphasis on the struggle of students for state funding in the country’s premier national university.

Ultimately, it was not the comeback everyone expected, but for the UP community, it was the narrative of every iskolar ng bayan.

An isko would never back out of a struggle. After 20 years of bagging the podium finish, the Fighting Maroons face a challenge to return stronger than ever after sliding to sixth place from a strong finish in 2015.

With a rookie-laden squad, questions of inexperience will always be an issue. Equipped with guts of steel and unmatched grit, the UP Pep Squad still delivered a routine which made their university proud.

“Ginagawa lang namin to para sa UP community, para din sa supporters… hanggang dulo nandyan sila kahit anong mangyari, yun yung pinanghuhugutan namin, dun kami humuhugot,” said captain Thea Obanil.

But the squad would not go home empty handed. The Fighting Maroons bagged bronze in the group stunts category, placing behind season hosts Far Eastern University and CDC champions Adamson University.

In the end, the UP Pep Squad is happy to bring the fight of the iskolar ng bayan to the UAAP arena once more.

“Kasi for me, walang ibang makakapantay sa pagcheer ng UP crowd para sa UP pep squad,” Obanil said.

Kenyan Coach to lead UP Women’s Volleyball

Photo by Luisa Morales

Text by Luisa Morales

The Lady Maroons are off to a new direction.

The University of the Philippines Women’s Volleyball Team (UP WVT) has found a new head coach in Kenyan mentor Godfrey Okumu following Jerry Yee’s sudden exit last September after a four year-stint with the team.

The new Diliman trainer comes with an impressive resume, holding coaching certificates for International Olympic Coaching, Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Level 3 and Japan Sports.

Okumu first met the UP WVT back in June 2016 in one of their training camps and has been a constant presence ever since. For the Japan-based coach, there was little need for adjustment coming into the position.

“They’re not like strangers to me. We basically know each other well… [there’s] a lot of good chemistry between me and the players,” Okumu said in an interview.

Since arriving in the Philippines last Nov. 21, Okumu has started training with the team on a daily basis. Providing a brand new program, the Kenyan mentor hopes to improve the team’s speed, power and accuracy.

Despite transitioning to a new head coach and training regimens, the Lady Maroons look to these changes with an optimistic attitude.

“It’s exciting… a different feeling, it’s a different kind of volleyball,” UP WVT skipper Ayel Estrañero said.

Training is hard, it’s difficult especially we’re getting used to a different kind of program but then hopefully the sacrifices, the hard work will pay off,” she added.

Coach Okumu comes into the picture with only a couple of months left before the UAAP season starts for the Diliman squad, and the team has only one goal in mind — to win as many games as they can.

Before Okumu, Jerry Yee had brought the team into the final four in Season 78 and slowly improved their skills during his stay in Diliman. The Kenyan mentor hopes to build on this and further move up the rankings.

“The only promise I can make is I will try to make sure that we reach 25 before the other teams,” Okumu declared.

UP jins fall short of podium finish

Photo and text by Mark Kevin Reginio

This year’s competition proved to be difficult for the University of the Philippines (UP) jins.

For the first time ever, the UP Poomsae team missed the podium finish as they finished fourth with two silvers and two bronzes in the UAAP Season 80 poomsae tournament, Tuesday, at the Ateneo Blue Eagle gym.

The Diliman-based squad has been in the top three since 2013 with a bronze, two silvers, and a gold, which they notched in 2014, but this season is a different story altogether.

With the men’s team division as their only chance for a podium finish, the trio of Lyan Llanto, Jayboy Buenavista and Juanito Sandoy Jr. fell short by a fraction of a point in their final performance accumulating 8.200 points to place second behind the 8.320 of the men’s team of De La Salle University (DLSU).

The Maroons’ poomsae men’s group was also not able to carry momentum to a first-spot finish in the semi-finals with 8.320 points.

“They did their best during the competition and I told [them] whatever place na nakuha natin this season we deserve it. Parang our opponents did also their best, so maybe they deserve that place,” UP head coach Janice Lagman-Lizardo said.

Bright spots for the Fighting Maroons were the bronze medals of Patricia Jubelag in the women’s individual competition and of the duo of Buenavista and Nikki Oliva in the mixed pair.

The women’s team, composed of Jubelag, Oliva and Aina Callos, grabbed the silver.

However, the 2-2 record of UP was still not enough to overcome the 1-1 tally of Far Eastern University as they notched a gold courtesy of the team performance of Faye Crisostomo, Gean Dela Cerna and Nicole Landrito, and a bronze from their male counterpart. The Tamaraw-jins took home the bronze.

“I know the players did their best, we did our best this year. Siguro factor na rin yung pagkawala ng captain (Dustin Mella) namin na super naging anchor ng team,” national team player and women’s team captain Oliva said.

Mella, the former captain of the jins, graduated this year and is now coaching the National University poomsae team.

Meanwhile, University of the Santo Tomas (UST) reclaimed the title with three golds all by the combined forces of national team players Jocel Ninobla and Rodolfo Reyes Jr., and a bronze in women’s team division to dethrone defending champions DLSU.

Coach Lagman-Lizardo, nonetheless, assured that they will bounce back come the next season. “We’re not going to stop training. So, hopefully next year we will be on the top,” she said.

The UP poomsae jins will still join the national team selection before the year ends.

Hot-shooting Maroons score 106 against NU, end season with a bang

Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Luisa Morales

It’s been one hell of a ride for the Fighting Maroons.

In their last game of the season, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons dominated the National University (NU) Bulldogs in a blowout win, 106-81, today in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The win resulted in State U’s best outing of the season, finishing the game with five Maroons scoring double figures. UP skipper Paul Desiderio and the Gomez de Liaño brothers tied their career high in scoring with 30, 22 and 17 respectively.

Center Ibrahim Outtara packaged a double-double with 12 points and 13 boards. Juan and Javi also contributed 13 and 10 rebounds apiece.

However, the Maroons fell short of a shot for the Final Four, with the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws booking the last spot after winning against Adamson University.

It was all UP from the get-go, relying on their stingy defense and hot shooting to put themselves at the forefront throughout the game.

Both teams started strong in the first canto, going back-and-forth in the first few minutes. The Bulldogs tasted their first and only lead early in the first, 13-11 courtesy of a Manuel Mosqueda bucket.

It didn’t take long for the Maroons to pull away. Triggered by nine straight points from Desiderio, UP caught fire to end the first with a double digit lead, 34-21.

By the second period, both teams traded baskets but the Bulldogs failed to lessen the gap and UP ended the half still leading by 13, 58-45.

It was the same story for the Maroons post-half. Going into the third without losing momentum, UP outscored NU 26-15 and the lead ballooned to 24 with ten minutes left in the game.

Despite the huge advantage, UP continued to play all out. Graduating captain Andrew Harris scored a bucket to help State U reach the 100-mark.

The last few minutes of the match saw contributions from other outgoing seniors Paolo Romero and Rob Ricafort to end the game with UP’s largest lead, 106-81.

With UP’s season coming to a close, four Diliman ballers–Ibrahim Ouattara, Romero, Ricafort and Harris–end their career with the Fighting Maroons with the emphatic win.

“I really have mixed feelings about this game. This is just a fitting farewell for these valiant guys,” UP head coach Bo Perasol said.

The seniors reflected on giving their all, regardless if it was their last game or not.

“We wanted to make sure that we came out and played our best. It doesn’t matter how many minutes we played, every time we’re on the court binigay namin ang lahat,” Ricafort said.

Despite not qualifying for the final four, it was a happy way to end the season for the team.

UP finishes the season in fifth place with a 6-8 win-loss record, making it State U’s best record since 2006.

UP MBT bows down to Ateneo, slips away from F4

Photo by Mikee Garcia

Text by Denver Del Rosario

The going gets tougher for State U.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons suffered another setback atthe hands of the unbeaten Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles, 82-96, today in the UAAP Season 80 men’s basketball tournament at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.

The Diliman squad gave the Eagles a scare in today’s Battle of Katipunan, leading by as much as 12 points in the game.

The Maroons lost their rhythm in the final minutes of the last canto as the Katipunan squad took advantage and pulled away with the victory.

Rookie Juan Gomez de Liano led State U with 21 points, while captain Paul Desiderio and Jun Manzo provided 16 and 13, respectively.

Matt Nieto spearheaded Ateneo’s campaign with 19 points, registering 63% from the field, while Isaac Go and Gian Mamuyac contributed 13 each.

The opening quarter proved to be heated as both teams went back and forth. The Maroons relied heavily on Juan and Manzo for offense, ending the quarter with a slim one-point lead, 23-22.

The two squads continued to play neck and neck in the second canto, registering five deadlocks. A Juan triple and a Jarrell Lim fadeaway jumper in the last few minutes of the quarter gave State U a six-point lead going into the half, 48-42.

The Maroons took advantage of their momentum in the third quarter as they tasted their biggest lead of the game, 54-42. However, the Eagles staged a last-minute rally to end the quarter with a narrow one-point deficit, 63-64.

The Diliman squad suffered a hiccup in the last salvo as Go and Rafael Verano collaborated for Ateneo to take the driver’s seat, 68-79. Refusing to surrender, State U came back with a team effort  to tie the game, 79-all.

However, the Maroons lost steam in the last minutes of the final quarter as Ateneo went on with a 17-3 run to end the game, 82-96.

Despite the loss, UP coach Bo Perasol commends the fight he saw in his team and remains positive going into their final game of eliminations.

“The effort of the guys, their confidence, their desire to get back—that is what I wanted, but I told them that it’s not enough to want to get ahead of the best teams,” he said.

“What is in our heads right now would be to have a good game against NU, and make sure that we win first,” he added.

With the loss, UP’s chance of getting the Final Four slot gets slimmer, with their future depending on their final outing and the turnout of the remaining games.

If the Maroons pull off a victory against the National University (NU) Bulldogs  and third-ranking Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons beat fourth placers Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws on Saturday,, UP will force a Final Four playoff against the Tamaraws.

UP falters against Adamson, slides to fifth place

Photo by Cleverlyn Mayuga

Text by Selina Jo Paredes

After surviving a late game thriller against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons failed to overcome the Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons, 70-86, today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Maroons were plagued by foul trouble all throughout the game. The Soaring Falcons had a huge advantage in the charity stripe, hitting 25-of-28 free throws while UP only had 8-of-10.

Both teams went back and forth in the first frame with all of UP’s starters contributing a bucket, but careless defense made the Soaring Falcons a frequent visitor on the stripe.

Despite this, State U managed to keep their opponents at bay by being down just a point at the end of one, 17-18.

UP committed an early turnover in the second frame, but Maroon Kyles Lao secured a jumper to give State U their second lead, 19-18.

State U found themselves once more in the penalty late in the second and failed to fend an onslaught from Soaring Falcon Papi Sarr late in the frame. At the half, UP trailed by eight points, 31-39.

It was all Adamson in the third as they went on a scorching 13-0 run, leading by as much as 19 until UP skipper Paul Desiderio broke the Maroons’ scoring drought by shooting a pair of free throws. UP ended the quarter down, 50-69.

Determined to get back in the game, State U sparked a 10-0 run early in the fourth led by Desiderio, Gomez de Liano and Jun Manzo to narrow the gap within eight, 66-74.

However, UP could not overcome their cold shooting as they were nailed to 66 points in the closing minutes of the fourth.

In a last ditch effort, Jaboneta made both free throws and Gelo Vito made a bucket to end the game, 70-86.

“I was looking for a reason what numbers they were ahead of… I saw that they attempted 28 free throws out of our 10. It may say a lot about how badly [we] defended because ang dami naming fouls.” UP Head Coach Bo Perasol said on the disparity of free throws in the game.

Three Maroons scored in double figures with Desiderio leading the way with 20 points followed by Manzo with 15, and Javi Gomez De Liano packaged the double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Papi Sarr led the way for Adamson with 25 points and 17 boards.

Dropping to fifth place with a 5-7 record, UP will go up against the still undefeated Ateneo Blue Eagles in a crucial game this Wednesday to stay in contention.