The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons turned it on in the fourth, uncorking 11 unanswered points to author an 80-70 win over the National University Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Up by just a deuce heading to the last 10 minutes of action, UP unleashed a huge 11-0 run to build some cushion, 66-53, with 6:55 to go. But the Bulldogs did not go away easily, answering with a quick 10-3 blitz to slash their deficit back to single digits, 63-69, with 4:21 left.
However, UP kept their composure and got buckets from Zav Lucero, CJ Cansino, Joel Cagulangan, and Ricci Rivero to secure the victory and raise their record to 2-1.
“Hindi talaga dapat tayo ma-satisfy,” said UP coach Goldwin Monteverde. “There’s a lot of things to improve pa rin. We have this chance to learn while winning the game.”
Rivero had 19 points, four assists, and two steals for the Maroons, while Carl Tamayo chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds. Cagulangan produced another solid outing with nine points, eight rebounds, and six assists.
Michael Malonzo led NU with 11 points while Reyland Torres got 10 points, five rebounds, and four steals.
The Bulldogs absorbed their second straight loss and sunk to 1-2.
UP aims for three in a row on Saturday when it meets University of the East on Saturday at 1 pm, while NU looks to return to the win column when it faces Far Eastern University at 10 am.