After suffering back-to-back losses, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons bounce back against the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 94-81, today, October 21, at the FilOil Flying V Centre.

Both teams traded buckets in the first half that saw a total of eight deadlocks. The Red Warriors blew by State U’s defense to score easy baskets that frustrated the Diliman-based squad.

However, the Fighting Maroons kept the Red Warriors at bay, 41-44, to end the half.

After halftime, UE continued to pester UP on both ends of the court, but the Fighting Maroons managed to push their lead to six after a 9-0 run in the middle of the third frame. State U finished the quarter with a lead for the first time, 63-60.

Senior guard Diego Dario provided UP a much-needed energy boost as he scored two threes to begin the fourth that sparked the Fighting Maroons’ 12-0 run that gave them a 16-point lead, 80-64.

The Red Warriors’ shooting turned frigid and UP took advantage with several trips to the charity stripe and a bucket from Jun Manzo to put the Fighting Maroons up by 18 points, the largest lead in the game, 89-71. It was all UP from there as they ended the game, 94-81.

On the win, Head Coach Bo Perasol said, “We were able to find ourselves again, we’re able to realize that we are not playing the level that we should play. This is not going to get any easier. The strings of games that we’re going to have are going to be difficult but if we’re going to spend that kind of effort, I think that we would have a chance every game.”

In the second half, Perasol was seated on the bench and noticeably quiet, when asked about this, he said, “We don’t need any voice to tell us what to do, we already know what to do, we have been doing this already for almost a year together. I think they just did their jobs.”

On the team’s reaction, “We always have to stay ready, …  next man up, so that when the first five comes out, we’re still in a good team.”, Dario added.

Second year guard Juan Gomez De Liano notched a triple-double of 15 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, the first in 12 years.

Aside from this, three Fighting Maroons also scored in double digits with Bright Akhuetie packaging his usual double-double, 28 points and 13 rebounds, while Paul Desiderio and Diego Dario scored 16 points and 13 points, respectively.

UE’s top guy Alvin Pasaol led his team in scoring with 30 points.

The UP Fighting Maroons move up to fifth place with 4-5 record and hope to sustain their momentum as they go against the Far Eastern University (FEU) Tamaraws this Wednesday, October 24, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. TNP

Photo by Quin Astilla

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