The Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates staved off a late University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons to win their first game out of five tries in a 70-65 win Friday afternoon at the FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
The first half was a back and forth affair between the two squads exchanging leads. However, early in the first quarter, LPU head coach Topex Robinson was hit with two technicals. Coach Robinson was complaining about the calls made on his player, Jeremiah Taladua. The first half ended with LPU holding a solitary lead, 34-33, over UP. Jebb Bulawan and Paul Soliman paced the Pirates with eight points apiece while Paul Desiderio led UP with nine points on 3/6 shooting.
In the second half, the Pirates managed to limit UP due to their pressing defense. LPU forced 11 turnovers in the final two quarters and contested almost all of UP’s shot attempts. The Fighting Maroons after making 12 field goals in the first half were only able to make nine in the latter half.
With LPU leading by nine points with 58.5 seconds remaining in the fourth, UP made a huge rally with threes from Jan Jaboneta, Jarell Lim, and Paul Desiderio to cut the LPI lead to just three points with 9.4 ticks remaining. Free throws by team captain Dexter Zamora sealed the win for the Pirates 70-65.
Lead assistant coach Jeff Perlas told us after the game that he was proud of the boys who lost confidence in losing four straight games to open the tournament. “Nawala ang confidence ng mga bata kaya the last two days, nag hard practice kami,” Coach Perlas said. Moreover, the stabilizing presence of Dexter Zamora, who missed the last three games, gave the leadership missed by LPU during the last three games.
Small forward Paul Soliman led the Pirates with 12 points, while big man Joseph Gabayni added 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds. However, Gabayni had an injury before the game ended. We were told that it was an ankle sprain and and MRI is needed to see the gravity of the injury.
On the other end, Jarell Lim scored 16 points, including 2 threes, to lead the Fighting Maroons while Paul Desiderio complimented the effort with 15 points.
As a team, the Pirates shot 45% while limiting UP to just 29% shooting. The 65 points allowed by LPU is the lowest they’ve allowed in the tournament.
The LPU Pirates next play the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, May 27 at 11:45am while the UP Fighting Maroons face UST on Wednesday, May 20 at 3:15pm.
LPU 70 – Soliman 12, Gabayni 10, Zamora 9, Bulawan 8, Taladua 6, Mbida 6, Nguidjol 5, Alanes 5, Baltazar 4, Marata 2, Sunga 2, Caduyac 1, Malabanan 0, Magbuhos 0
UP 65 – Lim 16, Desiderio 15, Jaboneta 10, Asilum 8, Gallarza 5, Amar 4, Tekoudjjou 4, Romero 2, Dario 1, Vito 0, Webb 0, Harris 0, Longa 0
|LPU (B, 1-4)||15||34||49||70|
|UP (B, 1-3)||14||32||42||65|