Reigning UAAP champion University of the Philippines and National University blasted their respective rivals to complete a five-game sweep of their group elims in the PG Flex Linoleum UCBL Pre-Season tournament Thursday at the SGS Gym in Quezon City.
The Maroons welcomed the return of Zav Lucero with a 103-80 demolition of Olivarez College in Group A. On the other hand, the Bulldogs put their might on full display in an 83-71 drubbing of University of the Perpetual Help in Group B.
Lucero, who played a key role in UP’s conquest of Ateneo in the UAAP Finals last May, made an impact right away with 17 points. Six other UP players finished in double figures, underscoring the team’s superiority – not to mention its depth.
Due to its earlier commitment, however, UP begged off from playing in the quarterfinals.
The Bulldogs, on the other hand, leaned on a solid defensive effort in the second frame. That saw them limit the to just eight points en route to the convincing victory.
LA Casinillo tallied 15 points, two rebounds, and two assists. Meanwhile, four other players scored at least nine points each in a show of a balanced attack for the Bulldogs.
NU led by as many as 18 points in the contest.
The win should also serve as a fitting warmup for NU. The Bulldogs will be facing UAAP rival Far Eastern University in the crossover quarterfinals.
The Tamaraws, however, suffered a stinging 69-61 defeat at the hands of guest team La Consolacion College Manila Blue Royals in their final elims schedule.
Christian Alonzo showed the way for LCCM with 22 points, six rebounds, and two assists.
The Blue Royals pulled away late with a 10-4 spurt to nab the victory.
Meantime, quarterfinals begin on Monday, Aug. 8 with CEU taking on Emilio Aguinaldo College at 11:00 AM; followed by a clash between Olivarez and Adamson University at 12:45 PM. PCU-Dasmarinas will then battle Perpetual at 2:30 PM, before the collision between NU and FEU at 4:15 PM.