Photo by Keith Magcaling

Text by Luisa Morales

With reports from Bei Zamora

It was another sorry Sunday for the Diliman community.

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons failed to get back on the win column, losing against seventh-seed University of the East (UE), 64-73 in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre, Sunday.

UE skipper Alvin Pasaol was hot from the get-go, opening the game with back-to-back threes to give the Red Warriors a quick 6-0 lead.

State U managed to get on the scoreboard with a bucket from Maroon center Ibrahim Ouattara, his only field goal in the game. Outtara spent most of his time on the bench after committing three personal fouls early in the game.

A tough start for the Diliman offense would leave them struggling to score throughout the first frame. At the end of the opening period, UP was down 13-21.

Come the second quarter, UP rookie Juan Gomez de Liano sparked the team’s offense with two treys in a row.

A bucket from fellow rookie Jun Manzo and another from Juan gave the Maroons their first lead at 23-21.

But the lead would be short lived. After UP’s scorching run to start the quarter, UE answered back with a 15-5 rally to lead the Diliman team 36-28 at the half.

After receiving a much-needed wake up call during half time, the Maroon offense once again came alive in the third canto.

Both the Maroons and Warriors traded buckets during the period, with neither team pulling away too far. UP only trailed by one, 47-48 with one quarter to go.

During the final quarter, Pasaol once again started hot with six straight points. Another bucket from the Red Warriors stretched their lead to nine, 57-48.

Despite efforts from Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan to propel UP back in the game, UE’s offense proved too strong to overcome.

Combining for 39 points, the Gomez de Liano brothers proved to be the only bright spot for UP with Juan scoring a career-high 22 markers while Javi contributed 17.

It was a dismal outing for UP’s starters, with the starting five contributing a combined 17 points. State U’s go-to-man skipper Paul Desiderio was held to eight while starting guard Jun Manzo settled for seven.

Meanwhile, Pasaol scored a game-high 32 points on 11/21 shooting while Mark Olayon contributed 11 for the Warriors.“We have to address our reliance on mostly Jun and Paul.… I don’t think that any one or two [players] can give us a chance to really go up another level,” UP head coach Bo Perasol said after the game.

Perasol lamented his team’s character, citing struggles about discovering who they are and what they can achieve as a team.

“It’s definitely a work in progress but we’re not going to stop… I told them that I’m not going to give up on them… We have so much work to do in those four games,” Perasol added.

UP will face tough match-ups during the final stretch of the second round, going up against teams like the undefeated Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles and season hosts Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws.

The Fighting Maroons fall to a 4-6 record. Due to the quotient rule, UP stands at sixth place in the standings below National University’s identical 4-6 slate.


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