Behind Javi Gomez De Liaño’s career game, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons survived an onslaught from the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws, 61-55, in their UAAP Season 82 opener at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, on Wednesday, September 4.
The older Gomez De Liaño paved for an efficient start, scoring 16 of his 22 points in the first half.
Highlight plays from David Murrell and Ricci Rivero complemented the Maroons’ offense to end the first half on a high note, 38-27.
Turnovers and empty possessions plagued the Diliman-based squad after halftime. The Tamaraws took advantage and chopped the double-digit deficit into a 55-all deadlock.
After an offensive lull from both teams, UP big man Bright Akhuetie managed to put State U ahead, 57-55.
Back-to-back free throws from Jun Manzo in the final seconds of the game sealed the victory for the Maroons, 61-55.
“I’ve been putting in the work because I know that it’s already my fourth year so I just really want to step up and help the team,” Gomez De Liaño said on his preparation for their first game of the season.
Gomez De Liaño scored a career-high 22 points and was the only Maroon who scored in double figures, while Akhuetie crashed the glass with 11 boards.
It was an all-around effort from the FEU Tamaraws led by Rey Bienes with nine points.
The Fighting Maroons will face the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers next on Saturday, 4 pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
QUARTER SCORING: 20-17, 38-27, 47-44, 61-55