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Sports

Maroons tame Bulldogs, book UAAP finals return

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Maroons tame Bulldogs, book UAAP finals return
Malick Diouf
UAAP

MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons came up with clutch plays on both ends of the floor to repel the NU Bulldogs, 69-61, and move on to the finals of UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday.

In a game of runs, UP pulled off key stops in the final minute of action to cap off an 11-0 run en route to the victory and a return trip to the finals.

JD Cagulangan took care of the scoring with a clutch triple from the corner with 55.3 left in the game to put UP ahead by five, 66-61.

Harold Alarcon then came up with a huge block on Patrick Yu’s try from beyond the arc in the next possession with 45.6 remaining.

Stuck playing catch-up with time ticking against them, NU was forced to play the foul game and sent Cagulangan to the free throw line.

Though the guard split his freebies, it was still a two-possession game for the Maroons with 34 seconds left on the clock.

The win came even as star player Carl Tamayo missed most of the contest when he hurt his right ankle in the opening quarter after landing on Jake Figueroa's foot on a rebound attempt.

"We're happy that we're getting another chance to win a championship. We started off flat. But one thing, I believe the team bounced back from where we started, losing Carl in the first half, he wasn't a 100% but the team responded well to the challenge given to us." said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde.

MVP frontrunner Malick Diouf tallied a double-double of 17 points and 21 boards to go along with two assists and three blocks. He was also an efficient +19 in the +/- column.

Zavier Lucero chipped in 12 markers, 11 boards, five assists, two steals and three blocks.

Jake Figueroa paced NU in the losing effort with 16 points. The Bulldogs gave the defending champions a run for their money as they also led by as much as nine points in the ball game.

UP now awaits the winner between the other Final Four matchup between the Ateneo Blue Eagles and Adamson Soaring Falcons.

The Scores:

UP 69 -- Diouf 17, Lucero 12, Gonzales 11, Cagulangan 8, Abadiano 7, Fortea 6, Tamayo 6, Alarcon 2, Spencer 0, Galinato 0, Torculas 0.
NU 61 -- Figueroa 16, Baclaan 14, Malonzo 11, John 8, Yu 2, Clemente 2, Enriquez 2, Mahinay 2, Minerva 2, Galinato 2, Manansala 0, Palacielo 0, Tibayan 0.

Quarters: 17-19, 35-38, 54-45, 69-61.

BASKETBALL

UAAP

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