A win is a win. UP is off to a fresh and positive start in the all-new season of the UAAP. They stopped the late charge of the FEU Tamaraws and won the match, 61-55.
Javi Gomez de Liaño’s performance, despite his consistent numbers in the past, was still a pleasant surprise. He opened the flood gates for UP with a career-high 22 points.
Aside from his stellar outing, Ricci Rivero also blew the roof off Araneta Coliseum by completing an alley-oop for his first points as a Fighting Maroon. Noteworthy as well are the contributions of Jun Manzo and reigning MVP Bright Akhuetie who grabbed 10 rebounds throughout the game.
It looked like UP got FEU on the heels of a blowout victory at first, but you should not really underestimate the Tamaraws. Until the closing minutes, FEU looked to steal one from UP behind the heroics of Ljay Gonzales and Xyrus Torres. It was only until a pick-and-roll play from Jun and Bright that UP got to make a sigh of relief.
This game is just the start of a long journey for the Fighting Maroons. The road may be bumpy, but the takeaway – both the ups and downs– should be beneficial for their purposeful run for the top prize.
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