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UAAP 86 MBB: Full-strength UP earns ticket to Final Four after escape of UE


University of the Phillippines took advantage of University of the East’s poor endgame poise, escaping with a 79-72 triumph to book a ticket to the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Final Four on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Fighting Maroons improved their record to 9-2 to top the standings and entered the semifinals for the fifth consecutive season.

And the win was the best response to their 88-79 loss to the De La Salle Green Archers last Sunday.

“We were just looking for a bounce-back game after losing the last one,” said UP deputy coach Christian Luanzon, who spoke on behalf of head coach Goldwin Monteverde.

“There are things to improve, especially sa second half namin wherein there were stretches where we were flat. But you know, a win is a win and it was a much-needed win, especially coming off a loss,” the long-time deputy continued.

UP finally had Senegalese center Malick Diouf and point guard JD Cagulangan back in the squad after dealing with injuries.

Diouf, who is the reigning MVP, led UP with 19 points, 15 rebounds, five steals, two assists, and one block.

Meanwhile, Cagulangan, the team’s graduating guard from Butuan, tallied nine points, eight assists, two steals, and two rebounds.

Excitement escalated when Jack Cruz-Dumont knocked down a three to level the game at 69-69 for the Red Warriors with 3:50 to go.

But Diouf and CJ Cansino linked up to give the Fighting Maroons a 73-69 edge with 2:42 remaining on the clock.

Cruz-Dumont refused to quit, though. He brought UE closer once again to just 73-72 with over a minute left in the game.

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However, UP’s depth, talent, and experience allowed it to find a way through.

Francis Lopez finished off an alley-oop play from Cagulangan’s pass. Then the Red Warriors’ defense was asleep for a 75-72 separation with 33 seconds left.

Noy Remogat shot an airball after a timeout, before Cagulangan converted a free throw.

Diouf then made a crucial steal from Ethan Galang and converted another free throw to ice the game, 77-72, with less than 14 seconds remaining.

“Wala namang team sa UAAP this season that you can really take for granted. Any team can beat anyone at any given day. Hindi na kami nagulat dun but at the same time, sa mga moments na ganun, you just have to rely on each other and sa execution namin,” said Luanzon.

UP also prevailed 84-69 against UE in the first round last October 4.

UP looks to close in on a coveted twice-to-beat incentive on Saturday when it faces Far Eastern University at 2:00 PM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

On the other hand, the Red Warriors dropped to 4-7 in sixth place – one game behind the Ateneo Blue Eagles; and 1.5 games behind the Adamson Soaring Falcons, who will play against the Green Archers tonight.

Cruz-Dumont led UE with 19 points and five rebounds, while Nigerian center Precious Momowei contributed 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Remogat had scored 34 points in UE’s last game against Far Eastern University last Sunday. This time, he got 12 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds, and two steals.

UE looks to keep its slim playoff hopes alive when it clashes with La Salle this Sunday, at 4:00 PM at the same Quezon City venue.

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The Scores:

UP 79 – Diouf 19, Cansino 17, Cagulangan 9, Lopez 8, Abadiano 8, Alarcon 4, Torres 3, Pablo 3, Felicilda 2, Torculas 2, Belmonte 2, Alter 2, Fortea 0.

UE 72 – Cruz-Dumont 19, Momowei 14, Remogat 12, Sawat 11, Maglupay 4, Galang 4, Tulabut 2, Lingolingo 2, Cabero 2, Gilbuena 2.

Quarterscores: 17-21, 43-38, 60-55, 79-72

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces


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