UP MBT staves off, WBT dominates feisty UE

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons closed out the penultimate day of the first round with a pair of resounding victories against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in the UAAP Season 85 collegiate basketball tournaments.

The men’s team will enter their first-round finale atop the league table with National University, while the women’s squad currently sits in fourth place with Ateneo.

Pulling through

The UP Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) overcame a huge challenge from the hard-hitting UE Red Warriors for their fifth win of the season, 84-77, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

UP opened the match with tight defense on display to neutralize UE’s offense and take the lead at 18-13.

However, the Maroons lost their tempo in the second frame as the Warriors, led by CJ Payawal, staged an astonishing 15-1 blitz to overtake UP, 41-38.

The two teams figured in several deadlocks at the start of the second half before Gerry Abadiano stepped up for the maroon shirts to seize a three-point advantage.

The defending champions looked poised to take the win after nailing consecutive baskets to go up by 10. But Payawal breathed life into UE with back-to-back triples to cut the deficit to three.

However, fellow Warrior Kyle Paranada’s missed three-pointer gave UP the chance to retake momentum and eventually secure the win.

Terrence Fortea delivered 13 points, two rebounds and five assists for the Maroons to earn his second player of the game plum this season. 

Carl Tamayo, who left the court during the final minutes of the game to a minor ankle sprain, also finished with 13 markers to go with seven rebounds and four steals.

Meanwhile, Payawal’s career-high 21 points went down the drain as UE absorbed its third loss in six games.

Despite the emphatic win, UP MBT head tactician Goldwyn Monteverde believes the team has yet to realize its full potential.

“Siguro nandun kami sa process of it pero yung full potential namin, siguro for me, wala pa kami dun and we’re really working hard on that,” Monteverde said.

“One thing we need to address is maging consistent kami. Nakikita ko naman na we could really execute offensively and we could really good in defense. yun lang, sana magawa namin in a consistent basis,” he added.

Carl Tamayo tries to pierce through the UE defense during their Oct.19 clash. Photo by Ivy Ferrer

Much-needed win

Coming off back-to-back defeats, the UP Women’s Basketball Team (UP WBT) bounced back with a 66-42 clobbering of the UE Lady Warriors at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion. 

UP established a commanding 25-5 advantage in the opening frame, with Erika Jimenez charging their offense with nine points to herself.

From there on, the Maroons maintained a double-digit edge over the Warriors, ballooning their lead to as much as 39 points by the end of the third quarter.

The final salvo saw UE trying to rally from their turnover-prone stretches in the early game, as Kamba Kone and Pauline Anastacio took turns in scoring baskets.

But their mini-run proved long overdue as State U tightened its grip on the lead to take home the victory, 66-42.

Jimenez top-scored for the Maroons with 11 markers, while Stiffany Larrosa posted a similar outing with eight rebounds.

Meanwhile, Kone was the lone bright spot for the winless Lady Warriors with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

With the first round of elimination wrapping up this week, UP WBT head coach Paul Ramos underlined the importance of today’s win to their season campaign. 

“As we all know, the standings are shaping up and we are beginning to see who will be battling it out for the second, third, and fourth spots. Obviously, we are vying for one of those spots so every win matters for us,” Ramos said.

The Fighting Maroons will lock horns with the UST Golden Tigresses on the final match day of the first round on Oct. 22 at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.

UP MBT QUARTER SCORES: 18-13, 38-41, 59-56, 84-77

UP WBT QUARTER SCORES: 25-5, 38-11, 54-25, 66-42