Maroon cagers wrap up first round with MBT triumph, WBT defeat vs UST

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons ended the first round with a decisive win from the men’s team and a disappointing loss from the women’s squad against the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers in the UAAP Season 85 collegiate basketball tournaments. 

With yesterday’s results at the Ynares Center, the men’s team now sits atop the league standings with a 6-1 record. Meanwhile, their women counterparts settle for fifth place with a 3-4 card. 

In dominant fashion

Behind the collective efforts of its 15-strong lineup, the UP Men’s Basketball Team (UP MBT) cruised to its sixth win of the season after whipping the UST Growling Tigers, 76-51. 

UP rode on the shoulders of a hot-shooting Gerry Abadiano to clinch an early 11-2 lead in the opening half.

The Maroons continued to display relentless offense in the second frame as James Spencer and Zav Lucero nailed back-to-back triples for a 30-15 edge. 

UST tried to mount a mini-run capped by Richi Calimag’s basket, but a debuting Ashon Andrews stamped out the fire with a floater to end the first half in favor of UP, 38-24.

The maroon shirts quickly buried the gold-and-white in the third quarter as Terrence Fortea shot a three-pointer to establish a 28-point advantage, their largest in the match. But UST’s Adama Faye would ignite a late run to snip the lead at 58-37.

The Tigers came roaring back in the final salvo as ace player Nic Cabañero caught fire, hitting a pair of deuces and triples to keep them within distance, 60-49.

It was an all-UP affair from thereon, however, with Carl Tamayo scoring five consecutive points to bring them up by 21 once more.

Lucero’s three-pointer in the ensuing play sealed the first double-digit margin win for the defending champions this season. 

Fortea tallied 14 markers in UP’s win, while Lucero played an all-around performance with 12 points, five rebounds, five steals and four assists.

Faye returned from a one-game suspension with a 15-point production for UST.

While he noted the team’s improvement after the first round, UP MBT head coach Goldwyn Monteverde again emphasized maintaining consistency in their game.

“From our first game to our last game namin today, we definitely improved a lot on how we start the game. I think we just have to work pa on yung consistency namin on how we start,” Monteverde said.

“Definitely, whatever happened nung first round, we would work on it as a team,” he added.

Carl Tamayo goes for a layup during their Oct. 22 matchup against UST. Photo by Guinevere Latoza

Another sorry loss

In women’s hoops, the UP Women’s Basketball Team (UP WBT) absorbed their fourth loss in the first round following an 82-61 beating against the UST Growling Tigresses. 

UP trailed early on in the first quarter as UST moved quickly with their offense, 28-13.

The second frame saw the Maroons cutting the deficit to 10, with Christie Bariquit taking the helm at 35-25. However, Tacky Tacatac would hit back-to-back baskets for the Tigresses to widen their edge again, 43-28.

The maroon shirts played an inspired game by the start of the second half as an off-the-bench Stiffany Larrosa sank a pair of three-pointers to bring UP closer at 49-43. 

UST wasted no time in dousing the fightback as Nicky Villasin and Eka Soriano took turns in scoring for a 62-47 lead.

UP’s Kaye Pesquera opened the final canto with a triple and a deuce, but UST’s offense ultimately proved to be a tough nut to crack as the Tigresses ended the match with a 21-point advantage.

Pesquera paced the Maroons with 18 points, while Larrosa added 13 markers.

Tacatac continued to shine for the Tigresses, posting 19 points to go with nine rebounds and five assists.

The second round of the collegiate basketball tournaments begins on Oct. 29. 

UP MBT QUARTER SCORES: 19-8, 38-24, 58-37, 76-51

UP WBT QUARTER SCORES: 13-28, 28-43, 49-62, 61-82