ANTIPOLO – University of the Philippines escaped with its third straight victory, thwarting University of the East late to take a 62-56 win Saturday in the 82nd UAAP men's basketball tournament at the Ynares Center here.
Against a raging Red Warriors squad that cut what was once a 13-point third quarter lead down to just a solitary point, 57-56, with 1:54 left, the Fighting Maroons made smart plays in the end, with Kobe Paras setting up Jaydee Tungcab's big left corner trey before the second-generation star split his charities to bring the lead back up to five, 61-56, with 1:09 to play.
"We had lots of lapses, but in the end it was Jaydee that saved us with his three-point shot in the corner," said coach Bo Perasol, harping on the impact Tungcab did more than the latter's four points and two rebounds. "His game-long brilliance of defending Rey Suerte helped us a lot."
Paras continued to impress with his 12 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two assists to help Bright Akhuetie, who tallied 16 points, five boards, three assists and three steals.
Javi Gomez de Liano also registered 15 points and three boards to help UP improve to a 4-1 card.
Relentless until the end, UE tried to complete the fightback but Rey Suerte, Alex Diakhite and Jed Mendoza all missed their treys in the final minute.
Suerte, the league's leading scorer prior to this game at 22.8 points per outing, was held to a horrid 2-of-15 shooting from the field, including 0-of-9 from threes, as he only finished with four points, nine rebounds, and three assists.
Senegalese big man Alex Diakhite topscored for UE with 21 points, 17 rebounds, and five assists as it fell to a 1-4 card.
UP 62 – Akhuetie 16, Ja. Gomez de Liano 15, Paras 12, Rivero 7, Tungcab 4, Ju. Gomez de Liano 3, Manzo 3, Webb 2, Murrell 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0.
UE 56 – Diakhite 21, Abanto 9, Tolentino 8, Antiporda 6, Pagsanjan 6, Suerte 4, Cruz 2, Manalang 0, Mendoza 0, Natividad 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15, 39-27, 46-42, 62-56
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