University of the East eased out the last of the three Cebuano teams in the Fil-Oil Flying V Champions Cup Sweet 16 Final Challenge as the Warriors upended the University of Visayas Green Lancers, 68-62, yesterday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Warriors used a pressing defense and a running attack to cut the tall UV team, bannered by 6-foot-11 Fil-Am center Greg Slaughter, down to size.
“Like La Salle, we didn’t have much preparation for this tourney. Good thing for us is we have a system already in place. We used the strategy we had against Sam Ekwe (of San Beda) and Jervy Cruz (of UST) to neutralize Slaughter,” said UE coach Dindo Pumaren.
Getting past Slaughter and his teammates, the Warriors, qualifiers from the Luzon zonal, reached the Last Eight against the La Salle Archers in this elite tourney sponsored by Smart, PLDT, Fil-Oil, Flying V, KFC, Adidas, Accel, Greenwich and The Philippine STAR.
“We’re in the tougher bracket. Having overcome the CESAFI champions, we next play La Salle. If we survive them, we’re likely to play next NCAA champion San Beda,” said Pumaren.
Though smaller by at least six inches than Slaughter, Elmer Espiritu held his ground at the paint, pulling down 19 rebounds and putting in 13 points.
Earlier, 6-foot-3 forward Orlando Daroya sizzled with 31 points, nine rebounds and nine blocks, powering Arellano U past Universal College of Nursing, 76-61.
Arellano walloped UNC twice in four days, thus, advancing to the next round versus NCAA titlist San Beda. The Chiefs also defeated the Dragons in their face-off in the NCRAA last Monday.
Espiritu joined forces with Lucas Tagarda and Pari Llagas in a telling fourth-quarter run breaking the backs of the Lancers of coach Boy Cabahug and assistant Al Solis.
The Lancers threatened to pull away, 51-46, on a 13-to-nothing run on a four-minute stretch bridging the last two quarters.
The Warriors, however, reorganized after a timeout, and came through with a 7-0 counterattack to regain the lead at 53-51.
Slaughter collected 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Lancers.