UE nails playoff spot after downing UP

By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM—UE hung tough late in a FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup match on Wednesday, escaping with a 70-67 win over UP at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

Up by as much as eight, the Red Warriors lost the lead with less than five minutes left as the Fighting Maroons tied the game, 58-all.

UE restored control and took a 68-62 advantage with 2:41 left.

UP threatened anew as it scored five straight point to cut the lead to one, 68-67, with 33.1 seconds to go.

The team had a chance to take the lead as R.R. De Leon lost the ball after rebounding the ball off a J.R. Gallarza miss from the line, but Paul Desiderio got stifled by UE's pressure defense, leading to a steal by the opposing side.

The game remained tense as Jordan Sta. Ana badly missed two charities, but Chris Javier recovered the ball and made the follow-up to stretch the gap to three with 16.6 seconds left.

Jarell Lim and Diego Dario misfired potential game-tying triples at the final horn.

Paul Varilla led UE, which clinched a spot in the knockout stages, with 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists, while Javier posted 12 points, 12 rebounds, and a block in his return from personal training in the United States.

Desiderio tallied 16 points, two rebounds, and three assists for UP, which finished its FilOil campaign with a seventh consecutive loss.

Box Scores:

UE 70-P. Varilla 17, De Leon 13, Javier 12, Sta. Ana 11, Batiller 9, Gonzales 3, Manalang 2, Awana 2, Palma 1, Charcos 0, Gagate 0, Penuela 0, Larupay 0, J. Varilla 0, Guiang 0

UP 67-Desiderio 16, Amar 12, Dario 7, Gallarza 7, Asilum 5, Juruena 5, Lim 4, Harris 3, Prado 3, Webb 3, Tekoudjou 2, Vito 0, Jaboneta 0

Quarterscores: 20-13, 36-32, 54-47, 70-67