MANILA, Philippines — The University of the Philippines continued to show no mercy to their rivals, beating Eastern University, 83-69, on Saturday to slip away with a win before advancing to the Final Four of the basketball tournament. men’s ball of the season 85 of the UAAP.
Malick Diouf treated the roaring UP faithful at Smart Araneta Coliseum with multiple highlight reels and led the defending champion Fighting Maroons to a sixth straight victory, their ninth overall in 10 games.
“The ball was moving, the defense was good. I think we just have to keep that momentum going to win the championship,” Diouf said after posting 23 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks.
Zavier Lucero also shone with 17 points, his back-to-back reverse layups in the final minutes completely sidelining the Warriors for the latter to absorb a sixth loss after 10 games.
“We continue to take steps in the right direction. We had the chance to put that away early, I thought we missed that chance, but at the same time we were able to control it late and get it done,” Lucero said.
The Fighting Maroons built a 21-point cushion in the first quarter and appeared to be heading for an easy win before the Warriors fought back in the second half thanks to the efforts of Jalen Stevens and the Paranada brothers – Nick and Kyle.
Kyle Paranada’s three free throws and Steven’s inside cannon shot closed the gap in seven minutes with four minutes left, but the Maroons quickly regrouped and put out the fire on Diouf’s exploits and Lucero.
“We have seen the effort we can make, hopefully after the break we can make adjustments,” said UE coach Jack Santiago.
Stevens battled Diouf and Carl Tamayo on the inside and finished with 23 points and pulled out six rebounds.
“We started well, we moved the ball better, especially in the first quarter. From my point of view, we have improved in terms of chemistry. What is important is that we support this,” UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde said.
The league is taking a 12-day break to make way for Gilas Pilipinas’ men’s team matches in the fifth window of Group E of the Fiba World Cup 2023 Asian Qualifiers from November 10-13. Matches will resume on November 17.
The sheet music:
UP 83 — Diouf 23, Lucero 17, Fortea 10, Alarcon 10, Galinato 9, Gonzales 7, Spencer 4, Abadiano 2, Cagulangan 1, Tamayo 0, Lina 0, Torculas 0, Calimag 0, Ramos 0.
EU 69 — Stevens 23, K. Paranada 13, N. Paranada 13, Villegas 10, Payawal 4, Sawat 2, Abatayo 2, Pagsanjan 0, Remogat 0, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Tulabut 0.
Quarters: 35-18, 49-33, 63-55, 83-69.
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