UP Fighting Maroons used a strong start to carve out an 84-69 victory over University of the East to remain unbeaten Wednesday in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Reigning MVP Malick Diouf scored seven in the Fighting Maroons 10-0 opening blast before the bench crew of CJ Cansino, Reyland Torres, and Francis Lopez took over for a 32-9 advantage at the end of the first frame.
However, the Red Warriors used a 19-5 blast bridging the third and fourth frames to slash a 23-point deficit to single digit with 9:08 left, 53-62, before UP restored order with 10 straight points.
“We saw how UE played against UST and they were able to execute on halfcourt and in transition. Our advantage in this is yung composure ng team namin,” said UP Assistant Coach Christian Luanzon.
Diouf posted huge numbers anew for the Fighting Maroons with 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field to go with 16 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals.
UE, which beat University of Santo Tomas in the opener, slid to 1-1.
Cansino netted 17 points, Lopez had nine, while Aldous Torculas and Harold Alarcon made eight points apiece.
The Fighting Maroons aim for three in a row on Saturday against National University at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
UP 84 – Diouf 19, Cansino 17, Lopez 9, Torculas 8, Alarcon 8, Abadiano 6, Cagulangan 5, Torres 5, Briones 3, Belmonte 2, Alter 2, Felicilda 0, Pablo 0, Gonzales 0, Gagate 0.
UE 69 – Momowei 12, Remogat 11, Sawat 10, Gilbuena 9, Fikes 8, Galang 6, Cruz-Dumont 5, Lingolingo 3, Tulabut 2, Spandonis 2, Langit 1, Manalang 0, Maglupay 0, Wilson 0.
Quarterscores: 32-9, 49-28, 62-49, 84-69.