Maroons show why they’re No. 1

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star
Maroons show why theyâre No. 1
Carl Tamayo.
STAR / File

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines kicked off its title defense bid with flying colors, essaying a patented come-from-behind win against La Salle, 72-69, in the explosive opener of the UAAP Season 85 yesterday at the packed Mall of Asia Arena.

In the same manner that they capped a dream title run in Season 84 with an array of comeback wins, the Fighting Maroons pulled out another one from their sleeves behind a monstrous double-double from top gun Carl Tamayo.

Fresh from a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas, the sophomore forward stamped his class with 18 points and 19 rebounds plus two assists and two steals as UP kept its mastery of La Salle.

Tamayo’s superb performance included the insurance charities in the last three seconds for the Fighting Maroons, who also eked out an escape act over the same team in the Season 84 Final Four on their way to ending a 36-year title drought against Ateneo in the finale.

Backstopping Tamayo was Terrence Fortea, who stepped up in lieu of injured guard JD Cagulangan, with 15 markers and nine assists while Malick Diouf had a 9-13 line and three blocks.

Tamayo was grateful for another win for the Fighting Maroons.

“It showed us na marami pa kaming kailangang i-improve. ‘Yung consistency namin sa game kailangan mabago. Marami kaming natutunan dito pero simula pa lang naman ng season so madadala namin ito sa mga susunod,” said Tamayo, who was Rookie of the Year in Season 84.

In the first game, Nic Cabañero erupted for 33 points and four assists as Santo Tomas stunned host Adamson, 69-60, to gift new coach Bal David a rousing UAAP debut.

“It’s overwhelming kasi grabe ‘yung suporta ng Thomasian community,” said David.


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