Maroons repeat as FilOil preseason champs

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
Maroons repeat as FilOil preseason champs
UP's JD Cagulangan
FilOil EcoOil Sports

(Edited, 9:53 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines -- For the second straight year, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons reigned supreme in the FilOil EcoOil ECJ Preseason Cup.

In front of a capacity crowd, UP clawed back from 20 points down and held on against the La Salle Green Archers, 69-66, Wednesday night at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Veterans JD Cagulangan and Gerry Abadiano carried the load for the Fighting Maroons, scoring 13 and 12 points, respectively.

After a jumper by Lian Ramiro gave La Salle a 58-54 lead, the Diliman-based squad unleashed nine straight points to go up by five, 63-58, with 4:31 to go capped by a dunk by Francis Lopez.

A layup by Ramiro and a jumper by CJ Austria halted the run, Abadiano made a free throw and missed his second as the Fighting Maroons held a slim 64-62 advantage with less than two minutes remaining.

A Kevin Quiambao 3-pointer put La Salle ahead, but Ududo had a big putback to regain the lead for UP.

Quiambao then missed a tough jumper on the other end, and Cagulangan ran the rim and made a dagger layup, 68-65.

In the next possession, Ramiro was fouled while attempting a layup, but he split his freebies, icing the game.

Lopez made just one of his two free throws with four ticks left, giving the Green Archers a chance to tie the game, but Quiambao’s Hail Mary hit all board as time expired.

This is UP’s second championship in the tournament, while La Salle took home its sixth silver medal of the preseason competition.

After trailing by as much as 20 points, 43-23, at the half, the Diliman-based squad finally took the lead with less than five minutes remaining, 59-58, after a split from the line by Ududo.

The contest then turned into a nip-and-tuck affair to set up the cardiac finish.

No other Maroon finished in double figures, but Ududo had a monster game of nine points and 11 rebounds. Harold Alarcon chipped in nine as well.

CJ Austria and Quiambao each had 14 markers for the Taft-based squad, but the reigning UAAP most valuable player shot 6-of-25 from the field to go with 10 rebounds and two assists.

Abadiano was named as the Finals MVP of the tournament, while Quiambao bagged the season MVP. 

Earlier in the day, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws brought home the bronze medal of the tourney after edging the Letran Knights.

College of St. Benilde's Ian Torres took home the Hanes 1-on-1 King of the Hardcourt crown after torching Letran's Stephen Garupil, 14-4.

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