The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons failed to avenge their first round loss to the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers, 78-84, in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Wednesday, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
This is Head Coach Bo Perasol’s first game back after serving his initial three-game suspension which the league reduced to two after apologizing to UAAP Season 82 Basketball commissioner Jensen Ilagan.
It was a sluggish start for the Fighting Maroons with UST taking advantage of their lackluster defense by making it rain from beyond the arc.
UP had answers to the Growling Tigers’ hot shooting and managed to keep the deficit within a single digit, 41-48, to end the half.
Kobe Paras, who did not play in UP’s first round matchup with UST, went down with a shoulder injury scare with 5:43 remaining in the second frame and was assisted to the dugout.
It was a different story for State U after halftime, with Paras returning and Jun Manzo securing back-to-back buckets to cut UST’s lead to just one point, 51-52.
Come fourth quarter, the Diliman-based squad retook the lead with a Javi Gomez De Liaño go-ahead bucket, 71-70.
UP tasted their last lead from a Paras three-pointer as their offense went absolutely frigid while the España-based squad went on a 10-0 run to end the game, 78-84.
“We were able to keep pace with [UST] and we were also able to get the lead with less than two minutes to go,” Perasol said on the team’s late-game hustle.
“The unfortunate thing there for us is that we weren’t able to make stops when it mattered,” he added.
On taking the loss, Perasol said that there is no point in pounding it hard to the team crediting the likes of Paras, Jaybie Mantilla and David Murrell saying, “We just have to take whatever positives we can take.”
Paras led the way for UP with 18 points, followed by Jun Manzo and Ricci Rivero with 12 points each. Season 81 MVP Bright Akhuetie put up a double-double performance with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Sherwin Concepcion led UST to victory with 16 points and shot 5-of-10 from the three-point line.
The Fighting Maroons will face the Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons on Sunday, 4pm, at the Ynares Center, Antipolo.
QUARTER SCORES: 22-23, 41-48, 57-60, 78-84