By: Raphael U. Rayco
MANILA – The UP Fighting Maroons collapse against UST Growling Tigers, 57-73, today at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City.
Despite having a slim lead during the first few quarters, the UP MBT struggled during the last quarter as the team just scored seven points compared to UST’s 20.
“We got our shots off (in the fourth quarter). ‘Di lang talaga pumasok,” UP Head Coach Rey Madrid said.
The Diliman-based team played a balanced offense and defense in the first half and led by as much as 11 points midway of the second quarter behind Moralde and Asilum scoring 11 and 9, respectively.
A hard duty foul by veteran Kevin Ferrer shook up Moralde which caused coach Rey Madrid to replace the former San Beda cager with a little over a minute remaining before halftime.
“Ganun talaga sa game e,” Dave Moralde said. “Let it go na lang. Focus na lang on the next play.”
Returning forward Louie Vigil shot a three-pointer to inch the Tigers closer at the end of the first half, 39-36.
UST grabbed the lead via a Vigil three-pointer, 46-45, with 6:08 remaining in the third. The ex-NCAA Juniors MVP had a career-best 17 points, shooting seven out of 15 in the game.
Diego Dario scored his only points in the game with a spin move lay-up against Henri Subido to help UP reclaim the lead, 54-53, early in the final canto.
The Growling Tigers, then, dropped a 20-3 bomb to hand UP its fifth straight loss in the first round.
UST’s starting center Karim Abdul led all scorers with 18 points, shooting 63% from the field and bagging eight of his 11 free throws. The Cameroonian also grabbed a total of 8 rebounds.
On the other hand, Dave Moralde, who shot 45% in the game, led UP with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and a block.
Rey Gallarza and Henry Asilum also chipped in ten points apiece for the Maroons.
Holding a 0-5 card, UP will next face the De La Salle University on Wednesday, August 6, at the Araneta Coliseum.
UP – Moralde 15, Gallarza 10, Asilum 10, Reyes 8, Lao 6, Amar 5, Dario 2, Vito 1.
UST – Abdul 18, Vigil 17, Mariano 10, Ferrer 9, Daquioag 7, Subido 5, Sheriff 4, Lao 2, Gayosa 1.
QUARTER SCORES: 19-14, 39-36, 50-53, 57-73