The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons notched an emphatic win for the men’s team and a sorry loss for the women’s squad against the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles in the UAAP Season 85 collegiate basketball tournaments yesterday, Oct. 16.
After back-to-back Battle of Katipunan matchups, the men’s team now holds a 4-1 record to share the top rank in the standings. On the other hand, the women’s team slipped to a 2-3 slate.
Facing a familiar foe
In a highly-anticipated rematch of last season’s finals, the UP Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) emerged on top yet again after outlasting the Ateneo Blue Eagles in overtime, 76-71, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Both teams were neck-and-neck in the first quarter before Malick Diouf nailed two free throws at the end to keep the Maroons on top at 22-20.
Gerry Abadiano’s late foul gave the Blue Eagles the chance to shatter a 26-all deadlock in the second frame for an eight-point lead. But a returning JD Cagulangan nailed a triple to help the Maroons stay within striking distance, 38-35.
UP tried to regain their tempo to start the second half, with Carl Tamayo and Zavier Lucero registering back-to-back shots. Ateneo, powered by Dave Ildefonso, would respond with the same aggressiveness to end the quarter up by one, 54-53.
The nip-and-tuck affair continued right until the final minutes of the game when the Maroons were able to keep hold of a five-point edge.
However, crucial free throws from Ildefonso late in the final frame kept Ateneo afloat at 64-61. With only a minute left in regulation, Forth Padrigao knocked down a clutch triple to send the match to overtime.
UP quickly stepped on the gas during the extended play, with Tamayo and Diouf taking charge to pull the Maroons away from the blue shirts, 71-66.
Padrigao sank another three-pointer to cut the lead to two before Tamayo scored his own trey to extend the lead once more.
A missed attempt by Ateneo’s Kai Ballungay from the three-point arc virtually sealed the win for UP, 76-71.
Tamayo flexed for the reigning champions with a double-double of 20 points and 13 rebounds, while James Spencer added 14 markers.
Cagulangan showed no rust in his comeback from injury, dishing out seven points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
Meanwhile, Ildefonso tallied 22 points and 12 rebounds for Ateneo.
Fighting Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde lauded his team for displaying consistency in their offense and defense throughout the game.
“I believe that we played better as a team. We moved the ball well, we really tried to work on especially ‘yung offense namin,” Monteverde noted.
On the flip side, the UP Women’s Basketball Team (UP WBT) put up a brave fight before eventually surrendering to the Ateneo Lady Eagles, 67-61, for their third loss this season.
UP, led by rookie Kaye Pesquera, mounted their offense early on in the match to lead Ateneo, 22-20.
The tug-of-war between both teams continued in the second frame, but the Maroons took the helm with their aggressive plays to extend the margin to four.
However, the momentum would shift by the start of the second half as the maroon shirts struggled to keep pace with the Lady Eagles, who began dominating on both ends on the floor, 53-50.
State U tried to stage a late-game attack in the final salvo with Christia Bariquit scoring back-to-back baskets, but Ateneo held their ground to run away with the victory, 67-61.
Pesquera paced the defeat for UP with 16 points, five rebounds and three steals, while Bariquit chipped in 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Kacey Dela Rosa powered Ateneo’s win with an impressive 30-point outing.
The Fighting Maroons take on the University of the East Red Warriors on Oct. 19, with the women’s team playing at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion at 9 a.m, and the men’s team at the Mall of Asia Arena at 4:30 p.m.
UP MBT QUARTER SCORES: 18-14, 33-38, 53-54, 64-64, 76-71 (OT)
UP WBT QUARTER SCORES: 22-20, 39-35, 50-53, 61-67