UP versus La Salle for UAAP 86 title

UP versus La Salle for UAAP 86 title
Basketball (File Photo)

THE University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons and the De La Salle University Green Archers will battle for the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball title after the two squads ousted their respective opponents in the Final Four on Saturday night, Nov. 25, 2023, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

UP toppled the reigning champions Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles, 56-47, while La Salle crushed the National University Bulldogs, 97-73.

This means the UAAP’s top dog this season will take on the hottest team in the league for all the marbles. The Green Archers’ win was their ninth in a row following a second-round sweep.

This was also the Green Archers’ first time in the title series since Season 80 back in 2017, where they lost to rival Ateneo Blue Eagles in three games. They last won it all the year before.

Game one of the best-of-three Finals will be on Wednesday, Nov. 29, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City while Game Two will be on Dec. 3 at the Big Dome. If the series goes to a deciding Game Three, it will be played on Dec. 6, still at the historic Quezon City arena.

The Green Archers and the Fighting Maroons split their head-to-head in the eliminations.

Evan Nelle did it all with 15 points, eight assists, five rebounds and two steals, while Mike Phillips had 10 rebounds, with six coming off the offensive end, and contributed 11 points, four assists and three steals.

In the UP-Ateneo game, Gerry Abadiano, Francis Lopez, and Janjan Felicilda drained the much-needed baskets that allowed the Fighting Maroons to stretch their lead to nine with 3:51 left, 53-44. Then UP continued to clamp down on Ateneo’s defense, restricting the defending champion to just two points for the rest of the game.

“For me, it’s a team effort. Everybody was working hard and we prepared well for Ateneo. I’m really happy right now for the win and going to the Finals,” said reigning MVP Malick Diouf, who had a big game of 12 points, 16 rebounds, three steals and three blocks.

Lopez also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Felicilda and Abadiano got 10 and nine points, respectively, while seizing five rebounds apiece.


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