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UP fends off UE to enter UAAP Final 4

Malick Diouf showed his might anew for UP. Christine Tapawan
By Dugout Philippines

QUEZON CITY—University of the Philippines withstood the University of the East’s late rally to win 83-69 and seal a playoff spot in the second round of the UAAP Season 85 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Saturday, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With a 9-1 slate, the Fighting Maroons clinched at least a playoff spot. This time, they needed to fend off a Red Warriors team that is trying to gain as many wins as possible.

Leading by as much as 32-14 off of a Cyril Gonzales three in the 1:22 mark of the first quarter, the Fighting Maroons saw their lead trimmed down to just 64-71 thanks to a Gani Stevens basket with 4:02 remaining in the contest.

However, a 10-0 run behind baskets by Zav Lucero, Malick Diouf, and Cyril Gonzales increased State U’s separation to 81-64 with 1:07 to go as UP sealed win no. nine.

“We started well. We moved the ball well, especially in the first quarter. Yun lang, towards the second quarter, we just need to learn to sustain what we started,” said UP coach Goldwin Monteverde.

“The way I see it, nag-i-improve naman kami in terms of yung chemistry namin. Ang importante, ma-sustain namin.”

Diouf led UP with a career-high 23 points with 15 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks while Lucero followed with 17 points, four assists, and two blocks.

Terrence Fortea and Harold Alarcon also contributed 10 points each for the Fighting Maroons.

In contrast, Carl Tamayo had zero points behind zero-out-of-four shooting, three rebounds, and four turnovers in close to 13 minutes of action.

The Fighting Maroons’ bench mob made a big difference by producing 44 points against the Red Warriors’ 19. UP also had 37 defensive rebounds compared to UE’s 18.

UE fell to a 4-6 record, going down to seventh.

Stevens led UE with a career-high 23 points, six rebounds, and three steals while Kyle and Nick Paranada contributed 15 and 13 points respectively. Luis Villegas had 10 points as well for the Red Warriors.

The scores:

UP 83 - Diouf 23, Lucero 17, Fortea 10, Alarcon 10, Galinato 9, Gonzales 7, Spencer 4, Abadiano 2, Cagulangan 1, Tamayo 0, Torculas 0, Calimag 0, Lina 0, Ramos 0.

UE 69 - Stevens 23, K Paranada 15, N Paranada 13, Villegas 10, Payawal 4, Sawat 2, Abatayo 2, Pagsanjan 0, Tulabut 0, Beltran 0, Antiporda 0, Remogat 0.

Quarters: 35-18, 49-33, 63-55, 83-69.

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