University of the Philippines edged out University of the East, 78-75, to halt its two-game losing skid, Saturday in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament at SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Jun Manzo kickstarted the Fighting Maroons’ 27-8 barrage, as he went 3-of-7 from threes to notch a season-high 17 points, five assists, and three rebounds.
It wasn’t an easy win as UP lost grip of a 65-50 lead to start the fourth quarter. They then saw the deficit cut to just two, 69-67, with 3:52 remaining after JM Cruz split his freebies.
Kobe Paras doused that rally, first drilling a triple, then dishing out an assist to Javi Gomez de Liano to make it a 74-67 affair with 1:46 on the clock.
“We were able to bounce back,” said deputy coach Ricky Dandan, who stood at the helm for the still-suspended Bo Perasol.
“In the perfect basketball world, we would have wanted a more convincing one. But we’ll take this, of course, because we’ve come from back-to-back losses.”
UP remains in second place with its 6-3 record.
Bright Akhuetie posted 18 points and 14 rebounds despite an early knee injury scare. Meanwhile, Paras collected 14 points, six boards, and three assists for the Fighting Maroons.
Ricci Rivero and Javi Gomez de Liano also combined for 20 points and four steals.
Alex Diakhite carried UE in the losing effort with 28 points, 20 rebounds, and three blocks, despite turning the ball over 10 times. Rey Suerte got 17 points, seven boards, and six steals.
The Red Warriors sank to 3-7 in the standings.
UP looks to continue its momentum when it faces the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, October 16 at 4:00 pm. UE, on the other hand, looks to return to the win column on the same day, battling the DLSU Green Archers at 10:00 am.
UP 78 — Akhuetie 18, Manzo 17, Paras 14, Ja. Gomez de Liano 10, Rivero 10, Ju. Gomez de Liano 4, Mantilla 3, Tungcab 2, Gob 0, Prado 0, Webb 0.
UE 75 — Diakhite 28, Suerte 17, Manalang 10, Cruz 7, Conner 6, Antiporda 3, Pagsanjan 2, Tolentino 2, Abanto 0, Apacible 0, Mendoza 0.
Quarterscores: 27-10, 46-41, 65-50, 78-75.