UAAP: UP pulls away to beat UST, comes close with bonus to win twice

Carl Tamayo of the UP Fighting Maroons. -UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippines required a ferocious fourth-quarter surge before defeating University of Santo Tomas (78-60) to secure at least a playoff spot to make it two wins in UAAP Season 85. men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

The Fighting Maroons got off to a slow start in the first half, unleashing a 15-5 run on back-to-back baskets by Cyril Gonzalez in the third quarter to take a 13-point 52-39 lead before the Growling Tigers kept them inside. 10 to finish the quarter.

Defending champion Carl Tamayo drained three 3-pointers from RC Calimag and Gonzalez, sparking a 15-2 run to build its largest lead of 23 points, 74-51, with 6:13 left in the game.

Tamayo scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in just 17 minutes of action and was on the verge of making it two Final Four appearances with an improved 11-2 record.

Gonzalez scored 14 points off the bench while Malik Diouf added 10 points, 14 boards, six assists, two steals and a block as the Fighting Maroons looked to seal the No. 1 seed in their final elimination game against Ateneo Blue. The Eagles on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“That was one of the goals. When it comes to this game, one of the things Coach Gold (noted) … Coach Gold rarely talks about the pregame and the schedule. Because our season – in terms of promotion – is built on the growth of the team. Just building every play,” said UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon, speaking for Goldwin Monteverde. “

“Obviously, winning twice is a big advantage… But there is still a lot to improve. We will go back and watch this game and prepare the best we can for the next game this Saturday.”

The Fighting Maroons scored 22 points off UST’s 23 turnovers as they had 14 steals to bounce back from an 82-80 loss to La Salle last Sunday.

Also on the run, UST suffered its 11th straight loss and fell to 1-11, led by Nic Cabanero’s 14 points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Adama Faye had 12 points and 11 boards.

Points:

UP 78 — Tamayo 19, Gonzalez 14, Diouf 10, Cagulangan 8, Lucero 6, Abadiano 4, Galinato 4, Spencer 3, Ramos 3, Kalimag 3, Alarcon 2, Torculas 2, Lina 0, Eusebio 0, Andrews 0.

UST 60 — Cabanero 14, Faye 12, Calimag 7, Pangilinan 6, Manalang 6, Laure 4, Mantua 4, Manaytay 3, Magdangal 2, Garing 2, Herrera 0, Escobido 0, Gesalem 0.

Quarters: 15-16, 37-34, 59-49, 78-60.

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