Maroon ballers soar past Adamson with back-to-back wins

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons, in both men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, emerged victorious over the Adamson University Soaring Falcons yesterday, Oct. 5.

Their back-to-back wins were marked by back-and-forth matchups and dominant plays at the tail end of the game.

‘Cramming’ maroons 

The men’s team played catch-up in yet another match, this time against Adamson, before escaping with an 87-78 overtime win at the PhilSports Arena Wednesday.

The defending champions struggled to find their tempo in the first quarter, as the Falcons, led by shooting ace Jerom Lastimosa, ramped up their offense to lead by 16 at halftime, 47-31. 

UP, however, mounted an incredible comeback in the third frame, thanks to a 21-2 start ignited by Terence Fortea, who continued to impress in place of an injured JD Cagulangan.

The two squads fought tooth-and-nail in the final frame, with the Maroons holding the lead, 74-71, until the last second of regulation. But a last-second foul by James Spencer on Joam Sabandal brought the Falcons back into the match, as Sabandal sank all three free throws to force overtime. 

UP was quick to lead the extended play as Fortea and Zavier Lucero nailed back-to-back triples to ignite an 8-0 run, capped off by an epic dunk from Malick Diouf, 82-74. 

State U never looked back as Fortea downed another three-pointer to secure the victory. 

Lucero topscored for the Maroons with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Reigning Finals MVP Diouf posted a double-double outing of 13 points and 12 rebounds to go with four blocks and four assists.

Meanwhile, Lastimosa paced Adamson’s loss with a career-high 25 points, including six assists and six rebounds.

UP MBT head coach Goldwin Monteverde and players Zavier Lucero and Malick Diouf face the press after their overtime win against Adamson on October 5.

Fighting Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde praised Fortea for stepping up to the challenge in the absence of Cagulangan, one of UP’s key players from last season’s championship.

“Last season was a big adjustment for him kasi for that position but this season, I think unti-unti, siguro habang wala si Maimai [Cagulangan], nabibigyan siya ng time at nag-iimprove siya,” Monteverde said. 

“Hopefully, pagbalik ni Maimai, at least pwede silang magsabay,” he added.

First triumph

At the University of Santo Tomas Quadricentennial Pavilion, the UP Women’s Basketball Team (UP WBT) played a toe-to-toe battle against the Adamson Lady Falcons before emerging with a 64-56 victory, their first this season and their first over Adamson since Season 78.

UP enjoyed a strong lead early on in the match, with Pat Pesquera spearheading the squad’s charge for a 20-11 advantage by the end of the opening quarter.

The Maroons would maintain control of the game until midway through the third frame, when rookie Falcon Dindy Medina went on a shooting spree to draw the game a 36-all. 

Pesquera pushed the maroon shirts past the deadlock, downing back-to-back shots as they returned to their dominant position in the closing quarter.

A three-pointer from Christie Bariquit at 64-56 sealed the deal for UP.

Pesquera led UP’s winning charge with 15 points to go with five rebounds. Rhea Sanchez chimed in 11 markers.

Meanwhile, Medina produced 15 points for the Lady Falcons.

The Fighting Maroons look to extend their wins as they square off against the Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Oct. 8, with the women’s team playing at 10 a.m and the men’s team at 4 p.m at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

UP MBT QUARTER SCORES: 19-17, 31-47, 58-62, 74-74, 87-78 (OT)

UP WBT QUARTER SCORES: 20-11, 28-25, 46-43, 64-56

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