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UP, La Salle set up rematch in Filoil Final

University of the Philippines is facing off against De La Salle University once more – this time in the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup Finals.

Both teams aced tough tests put up by Far Eastern University and Colegio de San Juan de Letran on Sunday in San Juan.

The Maroons fought off a resurgent Far Eastern University side, 89-77, to remain perfect in their title defense in the preseason tournament co-presented by Bostik El Heneral and ABC Tile Adhesive, with Smart Sports, Strong Group Athletics, and Hanes as major sponsors.

Just as UP thought momentum was completely on its side with a 15-point lead late in the third quarter, seldom-used, pint-sized guard Jon Godinez and sharpshooter Jorick Bautista sparked the Tamaraws’ charge to as close as 69-72 with under eight minutes remaining.

After a much-needed timeout, the Maroons countered with a 16-3 run for an 88-72 advantage with 3:12 left. Their defense then finished the job, as they marched forward to another meeting with the Green Archers, whom they defeated in last year’s title game.

“The fashion that [FEU] won (yesterday), obviously, with the game-winner. Yung fighting until the end attitude nila kahapon, we expected na dadalhin nila yung ganung momentum papasok sa larong ito,” said assistant coach Christian Luanzon.

UP had two players in double-digits: Francis Lopez with 22 points and seven boards, and JD Cagulangan with all-around 13 markers, nine rebounds, five assists, and four steals.

The Maroons now turn their attention to another showdown with La Salle in the winner-take-all final on Wednesday at the same venue.

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State U triumphed in the two teams’ elimination round meeting, 89-77, but the Taft-based squad also has confidence coming from its three-game conquest of UP in the UAAP Season 86 championship round last year.

2024-Filoil-DLSU-def-Letran-Kevin-Quiambao UP, La Salle set up rematch in Filoil Final Basketball CSJL DLSU FEU News UP  - philippine sports news

(c) Filoil

Still, the Green Archers have a lot to work on after needing to fend off the no-quit Knights until the final buzzer for a 91-87 decision.

The reigning kings of the UAAP mounted a lead as big as 24, 80-56, courtesy of an Earl Abadam jumper early in the fourth period.

Letran kept coming, however, behind impact rookies Jonathan Manalili and Jovel Baliling to close to within three, 87-90, with nine ticks to go.

Sent to the line, La Salle first-year guard Lian Ramiro made the first and missed the second, but Kevin Quiambao collared the offensive rebound to seal the deal.

Quiambao wound up with a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double to go with five assists, but turned the ball over six times. Jonnel Policarpio was error-prone himself with five turnovers, but compensated by also collecting 19 markers, nine boards, five dimes, three steals, and two blocks.

Nonetheless, Green Archers mentor Topex Robinson had high praise for Letran, saying: “I’m excited for what Letran will be in the coming season of the NCAA because they really are a good team… That was a good game for us.”

Baliling wound up with 13 points, eight assists, and three rebounds, as Baliling also added 13 of his own. The Knights, the lone NCAA team in the Final Four of the preseason showcase also supported by Athletics as official outfitter and Molten as the official game ball, as well as minor sponsors Reyes Barbecue, KFC, Brothers Burger, Wallem Philippines Shipping, Harbor Star Shipping Services, and Akari, bow out of contention but will still have the Battle for Third to look forward to.

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Challenging them there is FEU, which was paced by the 20 points and six rebounds of Veejay Pre, as well as Bautista’s 16 markers.

The Scores:

Semis 1:
UP 89 — Lopez 22, Cagulangan 13, Abadiano 8, Alter 8, Bayla 8, Belmonte 6, Ududo 6, Alarcon 5, Torculas 4, Stevens 3, Torres 3, Briones 3, Rivero 0, Walker 0, Tan 0
FEU 77 — Pre 20, Bautista 16, Pasaol 11, Konateh 9, Daa 8, Godinez 7, Alforque 4, Bagunu 2, Taboctaboc 0, Ona, Gordon 0, Felipe 0, Montemayor 0, Beato 0
Quarterscores: 27-26, 43-38, 70-60, 89-77

Semis 2:
DLSU 91 — Agunanne 19, Policarpio 19, Gollena 11, Quiambao 10, Ramiro 8, Dungo 6, Abadam 4, Macalalag 4, Austria 4, Marasigan 2, Buenaventura 2, Alian 2, Cortez 0, Gaspay 0, Rubico 0
Letran 87 — Manalili 13, Baliling 13, Montecillo 11, Galoy 11, Cuajao 11, Go 8, Jumao-As 6, Nunag 6, Dimaano 6, Pradela 2, Garupil 0, Tangkay 0, Alarcon 0, Brillantes 0
Quarterscores: 33-24, 56-43, 74-56, 91-87

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