The UP Fighting Maroons emerged victorious versus the gritty DLSU Green Archers, 61-59, to extend their win streak to five and snatch the solo second spot, on Thursday, April 7 at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
With 7:44 remaining in the game, Schonny Winston stretched the DLSU lead to 7, also their highest, for a 45-52 slate. Midway in the fourth quarter, a Zavier Lucero dunk from a Joel Cagulangan pass was the turning point to launch a 14-4 surge. The run was capped by the duo’s two triples, giving UP a 3-point advantage, 57-54. Winston sank a trey for a 59-59 deuce. Lucero’s putback broke the tie to push UP ahead, while Michael Phillips failed to deliver the game-tying shot for a final tally of 61-59.
Lucero scored as many points as the whole Archers squad in the fourth at 11. His double-double performance is highlighted by his UAAP career-best 21 points along with 14 rebounds, 2 steals, and 1 block. Joel Cagulangan put on a superb outing especially down the stretch, making all of his 5 points in the pay-off period, including a three-point shot to even out the score at 54. He dished 7 assists, 5 rebounds, and 2 steals despite turning the ball over 5 times.
For the Green Archers, Justine Baltazar contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds, and M. Phillips chipped in 9 of his own. Evan Nelle, Mark Nonoy, and Winston were threats from the outside with 13, 9, and 7 markers, respectively.
UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde lauded freshman Carl Tamayo’s defense against Justine Baltazar. “Well yeah, I felt halos buong game, lalo nitong first hanggang third nag struggle kami offensively but good thing especially on the fourth quarter talagang pu-mick up yung defense namin. I thought you know Carl (Tamayo) played really good defense kay (Justine) Baltazar,” he said.
Lucero also gave credit to teammates Tamayo, James Spencer, CJ Cansino, and Joel Cagulangan. “I think like coach said, (a) huge part of that is Carl (Tamayo) and his defense. I don’t think he’s gonna get the credit for it but him on the floor against Balti (Justine Baltazar) was really what helps us get stops because you know our whole offense goes through him.”
“And then yeah Mai Mai (Joel Cagulangan) made timely shots and timely passes and I think as a team they won’t also get credit for this set at all but CJ (Cansino), James (Spencer), the guys that we had were crashing the defensive boards really helped us as well,” he added.
The UP Fighting Maroons (5-1) look to extend their winning streak to 6 when they face the FEU Tamaraws (3-3) to close out the first round of eliminations on Saturday. The DLSU Green Archers (4-2) will battle it out with AdU (1-5) at 1 PM on the same day.
UP 61 — Lucero 21, Tamayo 9, Cansino 9, Spencer 7, Diouf 7, Cagulangan 5, Fortea 3, Rivero 0, Alarcon 0, Abadiano 0.
DLSU 59 — Baltazar 13, Nelle 13, M. Phillips 9, Nonoy 9, Winston 7, Lojera 3, Galman 3, Nwankwo 2, Austria 0, B. Phillips 0, Cuajao 0.
Quarter Scores: 17-17, 32-35, 43-48, 61-59.