Team Standings

Far Eastern University - 7-0

Adamson University - 4-2

Ateneo de Manila University - 4-2

De La Salle University - 4-2

University of Santo Tomas - 3-4

National University - 3-4

University of the East - 1-5

University of the Philippines - 0-7

Games Today (Sunday)

Philsports Arena, Pasig City

2 p.m. Adamson vs. La Salle

4 p.m. Ateneo vs. UE

NATIONAL University sent the University of the Philippines (UP) to the cellar of the first round of the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball tournament Saturday after hacking out a huge upset, 70-66, at the Arena in San Juan.

The UP Fighting Maroons remain winless in seven outings in the 73rd UAAP men’s basketball tournament. (Virgil Lopez)

The Bulldogs exploded for 49 points in the second half as compared to the 25-point haul of UP with Joseph Hermosisima architecting the under three-minute resurgence of NU, burying a triple with 48.7 seconds remaining in regulation, 68-66.

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Alvin Padilla muffed a potential game-changing triple as Joseph Terso perfected his charities to seal the doom for the Diliman-based cagers.

UP earlier erected a 22-point bubble, 43-21, in the early minutes of the third canto but the Bulldogs crawled back, slowly gaining momentum as the Fighting Maroons lost skipper Woody Co due to foul troubles.

“I told the boys at the dugout, it’s your time to show a good game. If you play well, it’s going to be history. Good thing, the group responded,” said coach Eric Gonzales.

NU finished the first round campaign with a 3-4 (win-loss) slate but not enough to cheer the disappointed spirit of the debuting coach.

“I am disappointed with our record because all our opponents have literally shown their best games whenever we face them. We need to deserve every victory and they deserve this victory because they have worked so hard,” said Gonzales.

Hermosisima topscored for NU with 13 points, four rebounds and a steal while Emmanuel Mbe and Joseph Terso contributed 12 markers apiece.

Martin Reyes drained a game-high 15 points, nine of which coming from beyond the rainbow country, with Alvin Padilla and Chicago-based recruit Mike Silungan punching in nine and eight points, respectively.

The Fighting Maroons dropped all its seven games so far, matching their worst performance three years ago, when a Joe Lipa-coached team finished the 70th season without single victory.

Lipa, who brought the Diliman squad’s lone championship ring in 1986, was immediately terminated and replaced by UP alumnus and Talk N’ Text assistant coach Aboy Castro in February 2008.

Castro filed an indefinite leave last July 21 due to “personal reasons” as UP tapped former Sta. Lucia Realtors’ mentor Boyet Fernandez to temporarily call the shots for the Fighting Maroons.

7-0 slate

In the second game, Far Eastern University (FEU) rebounded from a slow first half to nip University of Santo Tomas, 65-57, and keep an immaculate 7-0 slate.

Zamboagueno standout Ryan Roose Garcia collected 10 of the game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Morayta-based squad to its best finish since the first round of the 2005-2006 season.

The 20-year-old player also listed four boards, three steals, one assist and perfect performance on the charity stripe to his name.

“Nagpapasalamat ako na maganda ang laro ko ngayon at ng team. Nung first half nag-relax kami at sinikap talaga namin na makabawi pagpasok ng second half. Nag-improve kami sa offense at defense at buti nakabawi naman,” said Garcia.

Coach Glenn Capacio is arguably the happiest mentor in the eight-member tournament right now as he batted for more consistency in the second round which kicks off on August 12.

“Siyempre masaya kasi na-duplicate namin ang record nung 2005 pero kahit ganunpaman, kailangan pa rin doblehin ang efforts namin. Basically sa game na ito, defense talaga ang nagpanalo sa amin,” he told reporters.

Aldrech Ramos registered an all-around performance by knocking in 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one shot block an a steal while Pippou Noundou added 12 markers for FEU.

Chris Camus paced the losing effort of the Growling Tigers with 16 markers on a 6-of-14 marksmanship as the team shares the fifth spot with NU.

The Scores:

First Game:

NU (70) - Hermosisima 13, Mbe 12, Terso 12, Baloran 9, Khobuntin 6, Ponferrada 6, Eriobu 4, Malanday 3, Ludovice 2, Javillonar 2, Magat 1, Ignacio 0, Singh 0.

UP (66) - Reyes, Martin 15, Padilla 11, Silungan 9, Lopez 8, Sison 6, Juruena 6, Hipolito 4, Gomez 4, Reyes, Miguel 2, Co 1, Saret 0, Maniego 0.

Quarters: 10-13, 21-41, 52-55, 70-66.

Second Game:

FEU (65) - Garcia 22, Ramos 12, Noundou 12, Cawaling 6, Exciminiano 4, Cervantes 3, Romeo 2, Mendoza 2, Cruz 2, Bringas 0, Sanga 0, Knuttel 0.

UST (57) - Camus 16, Bautista 12, Teng 11, Afuang 10, Mariano 4, Pe 2, Fortuna 2, Wong 0, Mamaril 0, Daquioag 0, Aytona 0.

Quarters: 10-15, 26-30, 45-45, 65-57.

(Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)