UP bests La Salle, goes 6-0 in UAAP 86

DEFENSE. UP’s Harold Alarcon tries to bother the shot attempt of La Salle’s Kevin Quiambao during their match on Oct. 18 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. / UAAP
DEFENSE. UP’s Harold Alarcon tries to bother the shot attempt of La Salle’s Kevin Quiambao during their match on Oct. 18 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. / UAAP

THE University of the Philippines repelled De La Salle University’s fiery comeback attempt in the fourth, 67-64, to move a win away from sweeping the first round of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2023 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

UP led by 11 in the fourth, but La Salle kept coming, eventually trimming the deficit to one, 65-64, with 15.5 seconds left in the game. The Fighting Maroons quintet then outwitted the Green Archers, playing hot potato for 12 seconds before the latter was able to burn their last foul to give.

La Salle then sent Reyland Torres to the foul stripe on the next possession, and the forward responded by sinking both for the 67-64 UP lead.

Off a timeout, Joaqui Manuel’s inbound was stolen by CJ Cansino to seal their sixth win in as many outings for the Fighting Maroons to remain on top of the UAAP table.

“For the team, every game we win whether we’re up big or not, we always take that as a learning experience especially since our current team is a mix of seniors and young guys,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde.

It was a game of runs that saw the Green Archers waste a 47-38 halftime lead and trail 50-59 after a nightmare third canto. La Salle struggled to find the bucket during that stretch going just 1-of-21 from the field.

Abadiano returned from a two-game rest due to concussion protocols with a team-high 13 points and four rebounds, while reigning Most Valuable Player Diouf had 10 points and 18 rebounds.

Harold Alarcon also tallied 10 points while grabbing eight rebounds.

UP will go for 7-0 this Sunday against Ateneo de Manila University in a rematch of the last two finals at the same Pasay arena.

The Green Archers slipped to their second straight loss to fall to 3-3, tied with Ateneo and Adamson University for third to fifth spots. / JNP

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