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Maroons prevail in battle of cellar dwellers

The UP Fighting Maroons whoop it up after claiming their first win in UAAP men's basketball this season.

By JP Abcede

PASAY--The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons overcame University of the East's energy and fullcourt defense at the second half to secure their first win in this season's UAAP men's basketball tournament, 75-71, held at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

Jarrell Lim gave UP the go-ahead basket with a three-pointer to cap a 6-0 run going into the twilight zone, 69-67.

Nick Abanto tied the count at 69-all, but that turned out to be the final conversion of UE before a meaningless basket at the buzzer as State's Jett Manuel responded with a jumper from the key, 1:26 in remaining in the clock.

Manuel and Paul Desiderio co-topscored for the Maroons with 17 points each. The two combined for their team’s four of six three-point buckets, corralling 14 rebounds between them.

Dave Moralde was the other double digit scorer for the Diliman-based squad with 13.

Mark Anthony Olayon led the still winless Red Warriors with 15 markers as Bonbon Batiller’s all-around effort of 14 points, eight boards, and six assists was put to naught.

Abanto clinched 11 points for East.

An ugly contest at the start, action did not pick up until UE coach Derrick Pumaren employed his trademark fullcourt defense midway the third period, which rattled the Maroons in spurts. Despite being anchored by Philip Manalang’s energy and hustle, the Warriors could not manage to break open the game in the fourth period.

A Manalang open court layup and a Batiller baseline jumper from an acute angle handed the red and white squad a four-point margin, 67-63, 6:14 left in the contest. That was it for them though as freethrows from Desiderio and Andrew Harris preceded Lim’s crucial trey with UP taking the momentum from there.

The scores:

UP 75 – Manuel 17, Desiderio 17, Moralde 13, Gomez de Liano 7, Dario 7, Lim 5, Harris 4, Prado 2, Lao 2, Romero 1, Asilum 0, Webb 0, Longa 0.

UE 71 – Olayon 15, Batiller 14, Abanto 11, Derige 9, Palma 9, Manalang 7, Charcos 4, Pasaol 2, Varilla 0, Bartolome 0, Gagante 0, Acuno 0, Penuela 0, de Leon 0, Lanupay 0.

Quarterscores: 16-19, 34-37, 57-58, 75-71.