University of the Philippines waxed hot from the get-go to claim the victory over Far Eastern University, 73-59, on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
James Spencer scored 15 of his career-high 19 points in the first half, shooting 4-of-7 from rainbow country.
UP extended its win streak to seven and improved to a 10-1 record, inching closer to a twice-to-beat advantage.
Midway through the first quarter, the Fighting Maroons were already up 16-1 after a JD Cagulangan triple.
Harold Alarcon and Spencer shot back-to-back dagger threes to reach their biggest lead at 21, 71-50, with 1:52 remaining.
“We just need to work on being consistent. That’s one part nung game namin na dapat namin bigyan ng pansin. We can’t play in spurts. We need to be consistent offensively and defensively,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde.
“After a long break, at least we started well tong game na to. We started strong. Especially sa defense namin nung first part, we really started strong din,” he added.
Malick Diouf finished with 11 points, 20 rebounds, and three assists while Carl Tamayo had 10 points, seven rebounds, and two assists. Gerry Abadiano chipped in nine points, six rebounds, and two assists.
The Tamaraws dropped to their second straight game and fell to 4-7. They are now tied with University of the East at sixth-seventh place.
Kyle Bautista led FEU with 12 points. Cholo Anonuevo had 10 points and four rebounds while LJ Gonzales got nine points, five assists, five rebounds, and two steals. Patrick Tchuente nine points and nine rebounds.
The Maroons are all set in their opening day rematch against De La Salle University on Sunday’s main event at 6:30PM. The Tamaraws will square off with Ateneo de Manila University on the first game of the quadruple-header that will be held at the Mall of Asia Arena.
UP (73) – Spencer 19, Diouf 11, Tamayo 10, Abadiano 9, Lucero 8, Cagulangan 6, Alarcon 6, Galinato 3, Ramos 1, Calimag 0, Torculas 0, Eusebio 0, Lina 0, Gonzales 0, Andrews 0.
FEU (59) – Bautista 12, Anonuevo 10, Gonzales 9, Tchuente 9, Sleat 7, Torres 7, Alforque 3, Sajonia 2, Tempra 0, Sandagon 0, Ona 0, Bagunu 0.
Quarter Scores: 22-18, 43-32, 58-42, 73-59.