by John Edison Ubaldo
Photos by Anjon Galauran
Two weeks before the season opening of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP), the UP College of Human Kinetics (CHK) inaugurated its new Men’s Basketball Team Gym and staged two exhibition matches for its official launch Saturday.
Present during the opening program were UP President Alfredo Pascual, Chancellor Caesar Saloma, CHK Dean Ronualdo Dizer and UP Alumni Association President and Alumni Regent Ponciano Rivera Jr., who all delivered speeches in the event.
UP Integrated School Boys’ Basketball Team fought toe-to-toe but came out short against their alumni counterparts, finishing the first game with a 51-55 loss.
UPIS MBT controlled much of the game, leading by as much as eight markers, but failed to neutralize the momentum of the UPIS Legends who caught fire down the stretch to eke out the pulsating four-point win.
Meanwhile, UP Men’s Basketball Team squandered a six-point lead midway in the second frame and fell to a 79-94 thrashing in the hands of Pro-club Global Port Batang Pier.
The Willie Miller-led Batang Pier launched a scorching 21-2 run bridging the final two quarters to eventually put the game away for the Fighting Maroons.
UP MBT tried to inch closer in the final four minutes, swishing a pair of treys which sparked a 10-2 run, 79-89, with a little over a minute left to play.
But celebrations were cut short as veteran center Alex Crisano forced a three-point play with less than 50 ticks left to finally put the Maroon fire away.
Batang Pier was also parading Philippine Basketball Association veteran Rommel Adducul and Jondan Salvador, who both exploited UP’s interior defense by dominating the paint.
Showing good signs for UP were shooting guard Marata who scored 28 points on six three-pointers, center Raul Soyud with nine points all in the first half, and Julius Wong who registered 11 points.
The Maroons played without starting point guard Henry Asilum, who is currently sidelined by an injury. He also missed the team’s campaign during the 2013 FilOil pre-season basketball tournament.
The UP MBT will be opening their UAAP Season 76 campaign on June 30 against the Adamson University Soaring Falcons.