Fatima stuns Ricci Rivero-led UP in BBI hoops

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
Fatima stuns Ricci Rivero-led UP in BBI hoops
Fatima University's Chris Essomba led his school to a victory over a Ricci Rivero-led UP Team B.

MANILA, Philippines – Our Lady of Fatima University made their stunning sulit.ph Breakdown Basketball Invitationals debut with an 82-72 upset win over a Ricci Rivero-led University of the Philippines team last Sunday at the Moro Lorenzo Sports Center.

The Fatima Phoenix played great defense on UP, and they led by a whopping 18 points early in the fourth period after a layup by Rommel Diosa at the nine-minute mark. 

Rivero, who torched Ateneo for 33 points in a win the previous weekend, scored six points in the fourth frame, but he picked up four fouls, including a technical foul — after he complained about a non-call — that sent him to the bench for good. 

Even with their star misfiring and fouling out, UP kept plugging in behind Evyn Santiago, who hit back-to-back triples to slice the lead down to 11, 78-67, with 2:12 left. Santiago had a chance to continue his heroics, but he along with Enzo Battad each botched two free throws, which put a crimp on their late rally.

The Phoenix’s Cas De Vera sealed the win for his side with a lay-up with 28 seconds left for the marginal points.

Fatima held UP to 35 percent field goal shooting while they hit 45 percent of their shots. Without their Cameroonian center Bruel Kamga, who got injured, the Phoenix pounded UP inside behind their Cameroonian import in Chris Essomba, who finished with 13 points, eight rebounds and one block. 

As such, Fatima grabbed 52 boards to UP’s 38 and parlayed their strong inside play into a 44-32 advantage in inside points.

Essomba’s teammate Emil Japson added 13 points.

Rivero finished with 16 points while Enzo Battad added 14 for the 1-1 Maroons.

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