The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons gained contrasting results yesterday, with the men’s team extending their win streak and the women’s squad stumbling yet again against the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in the UAAP Season 85 collegiate basketball tournaments.
The top-seeded men’s team is now two wins away from booking a return trip to the semifinals. Meanwhile, the women’s squad needs a breakthrough win in their next assignment to keep themselves in the Final Four race.
Falcons’ flight denied
The UP Men’s Basketball Team rallied late to repel a tough challenge by the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 91-70, at the Mall of Asia Arena last Wednesday, Nov. 2.
The defending champions thwarted the San Marcelino squad in the latter half, limiting their production to a measly 25 points.
At the start, a Jerom Lastimosa-centric Adamson dominated the counts, but it was Malick Diouf’s timely drives and dimes that brought UP up at 28-25.
However, the Falcons instituted the second with a 7-0 eruption, thanks to the aggressive offense of Lastimosa and Cedrick Manzano. But the lead proved short-lived as Terrence Fortea’s threes, coupled with a resounding Henry Galinato Jr. slam, punctuated the first half, 50-45.
“It’s all about decisions, so I think they did better decisions which lead to better offense in the third quarter,” UP MBT head tactician Goldwin Monteverde said as the team looks to improve on their consistency in the upcoming matches.
Consequently, Carl Tamayo came alive in the third, punching in nine of his 18 points to negate any possible run by Adamson which entered the second half sans injured Lastimosa and Vince Magbuhos.
Despite efforts from the depleted Falcons to mount a comeback, the Fighting Maroons only went up from there and never looked back to end the match with a 22-point blowout.
Diouf earned Player of the Game honors with a career-high 20 points to go with eight rebounds and five steals.
Meanwhile, Lastimosa paced Adamson with 18 points, 15 of which he generated in the first half.
Meanwhile, the UP Women’s Basketball Team (UB WBT) extended their losing streak to three as they faltered in a nail-biting match against the Adamson Lady Falcons, 62-61, at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
Down by 11 coming into the second half, the Lady Maroons banked on the early third-quarter labors of Stephanie Larossa who launched back-to-back shots beyond the arc. Rhea Sanchez and Rizza Lozada backed the Larossa efforts for a 13-4 charge that tied the count to 40.
The Falcons, however, immediately retaliated by eking out 10 unanswered points, with Jasmin Catulong fueling the recovery.
The maroon shirts tried to claw their way back in the game, cutting the deficit to six as Sanchez and Shanina Tapawan alternated hoops to close the frame at 45-51.
Regaining their momentum in the fourth, UP sparked a last hurrah with Kaye Pesquera driving past the Falcon’s defense to force another deadlock, 61-apiece.
But hopes for a Maroon turnaround were ultimately shattered when Adamson’s Leslie Flor was fouled and sent to the charity stripe, milking a one-point lead off her two free throws.
With 6.07 seconds left on the clock, State U retrieved possession but failed to convert as Sanchez misfired a corner shot behind the arc.
The Lady Maroons squandered 20 of 31 free throws— six of which were missed opportunities to snatch the win in the last three minutes of the game.
Leading UP’s valiant charge was Sanchez with 15 points, while Acrissa Maw added eight markers.
On the other hand, Adamson banked on Rose Ann Dampios, who scored 20 points.
The UP MBT aims to solidify their Final Four bid as they take on the UE Red Warriors on Nov. 5 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, while the women’s team seeks to return to the win column at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion.
UP MBT QUARTER SCORES: 28-25, 50-45, 69-57, 91-70
UP WBT QUARTER SCORES: 10-19, 24-35, 45-51, 61-62