The University of the Philippines has set the trend of flat startups. The defending champions should now find a way to maintain their newfound confidence.
“We got what we wanted. We got off to a strong start unlike in the first two games, but we couldn’t sustain it,” UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon said after the Fighting Maroons overcame fierce resistance. Far East to win, 73-67, in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Saturday Night.
It was a clear departure from their back-to-back wins against La Salle Green Archers and Adamson Falcons, where both soon fell to wide margins and redeemed themselves.
This time, the Fighting Maroons shot out of the gates, creating an early 14-point advantage before the Tamaraws slowly erased the deficit.
“We have to try to be consistent in all four quarters. This is what the coach (Goldwyn Monteverde) wanted. Luanzon said.
Carl Tamayo found his range during a crucial period, scoring half of his 16 points in the fourth game, while Terrence Fortea knocked out all of his third year and finished with 17 career points in the Fighting Maroons’ third consecutive undefeated win.
“We still have to work to maintain a big lead. The FEU suddenly returned. The good thing about it is that we were able to deal with the pressure pretty well,” Tamayo said.
Tamayo made a mid-way jump in the closing minutes against Anonuevo and made a similar move in their next possession in the corner, giving the Maroons the separation they needed to bring the FEU down 0-3 .
Ximone Sandagon rose to the challenge in front of UP’s big frontline and earned 20 points for Tamaraws, whose 22 offensive rebounds kept them in the fray.
”We went up against the defending champions. If we keep playing this way, fighting this way, victory will eventually come,” said FEU coach Olsen Racela.
In the other game, Adamson University finally overcame the ledge as Lenda Douanga and Vince Magbuhos made a 74-61 victory over Oriental University.
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