UP secures twice-to-beat edge after win against UE

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons secures a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Final Four after dominating the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 81-68, at the Mall of Asia Arena on April 26.

Their tenth league win guarantees a top two finish for the maroon-and-white in the elimination round. This comes after the third-seeded De La Salle Green Archers’ loss to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws that same day.

State U started the game strong, with league MVP candidate Zav Lucero scoring eight of the team’s 18 points in the opening frame.

UP’s dominant shooting display proved to be unstoppable as the team comfortably took an 18-point lead at the half, 44-26.

The struggling UE squad forged a late comeback bid in the final frame to close in on UP by nine points. But the maroon shirts charged to stretch the gap with a 12-4 run to lock in their tenth win of the season and the twice-to-beat advantage in the playoff round.

UP Men’s Basketball Team player Zav Lucero and head coach Goldwin Monteverde speak to the media in a post-game conference after their win over UE on April 26.

Lucero topped the score sheets for the Fighting Maroons with 20 points and 14 rebounds in another stellar performance for State U, with Rivero racking up 17 points and four rebounds.

READ: Top Fil-Am recruit Zav Lucero a UPMBT ‘game-changer’

UP MBT head coach Goldwin Monteverde underscored the importance of working as a team.

Although alam namin na nasa top two na kami, we need to [continue] that momentum sa final four,” Monteverde said. “Learning does not stop. Dire-diretso tayo.”

UP’s penultimate match of the elimination round will be against the seventh-seed University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on April 28.

QUARTER SCORES: 18-8, 44-26, 59-44, 81-68