Maroons frustrate Archers anew to open UAAP title retention bid

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Maroons frustrate Archers anew to open UAAP title retention bid
UP's Carl Tamayo

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 8:03 p.m.) — The UP Fighting Maroons averted disaster in their UAAP Season 85 opener as they stormed back against the DLSU Green Archers, 72-69, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday.

After trailing by as much as 10 points, the Maroons clawed right back into it in the fourth salvo.

UP needed to survive a 5-0 run by the Green Archers punctuated by an Evan Nelle three, 70-69, with three seconds left.

Carl Tamayo converted on two free throws to help UP hold on to the win. Nelle had a window to attempt a game-tying basket but was unable to put up a shot as he lost control of the ball.

Tamayo finished with 18 points and 19 rebounds for UP.

Maroons veteran James Spencer scored the basket in transition to push the Maroons' advantage to six, 70-64, with 16 seconds left.

Spencer followed up on a step-back jumper by Carl Tamayo after DLSU rookie Kevin Quiambao got the Green Archers to within two, 64-66.

It was no walk in the park for the Maroons in the grudge match against their Final Four foes in UAAP Season 84.

La Salle controlled the game in the opening half before runs by the Maroons in the third salvo got them back into the contest.

But it was only late in the fourth quarter where they gained the advantage on a Brix Ramos and-one conversion, 60-57. That was their first lead in the game since 29-28 in the second frame.

The defending champions played without JD Cagulangan who sat out the game due to injury.

Terrence Fortea stepped up in Cagulangan's absence with 15 points, five rebounds, and nine assists.

Schonny Winston finished with 27 points for the Green Archers. No other La Salle player breached double-digit scoring.

UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde credited UP's comeback to their defense.

"I just felt yung defense namin, especially nung third quarter, nag-pick up. It became more of a defensive game. It created shots for the team, created more easy baskets. Malaking bagay yung depensa ng team." he said.

UP guns for a 2-0 start in the season when they face Adamson on Wednesday. La Salle faces UST for a bounce back win on the same day.

The Scores:

UP 72 -- Tamayo 18, Fortea 15, Diouf 9, Spencer 8, Lucero 7, Gonzales 7, Alarcon 5, Ramos 3, Abadiano 0, Galinato 0, Torculas 0, Eusebio 0, Lina 0, Calimag 0.
LA SALLE 69 -- Winston 27, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Nonoy 8, Quiambao 5, Austria 4, Manuel 4, Nwankwo 2, Macalalag 2, B. Phillips 0.

Quarters: 16-17, 34-42, 50-54, 72-69.

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