The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons leaned on a strong second half push to fend off skidding University of Santo Tomas (UST), 78-60, in the UAAP Season 85 men's basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday.

The Fighting Maroons’ victory placed their win-loss record at to 11-2 to secure at least a playoff for a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four.

With the Growling Tigers down by just three midway through the third quarter, JD Cagulangan and Cyril Gonzales teamed up to push UP ahead by 10 entering the final frame, 59-49. Cagulangan, Carl Tamayo, RC Calimag, and Gonzales then started the fourth with 11 straight points to put the game away with 7:33 left, 70-49.

Tamayo led UP with 19 points and nine rebounds while Gonzales chipped in 14 points of his own.

Malick Diouf had a complete game of 10 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two steals, and a block for the Fighting Maroons, who used all 15 players.

Nic Cabañero still paced UST with 14 points and seven rebounds while Adama Faye had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Growling Tigers absorbed their 11th straight loss to sink to 1-11.