The University of the Philippines ( UP ) was able to start their championship defense in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball competition by edging over De La Salle University by a score of 72-69 thanks to Carl Tamayo’s clutch performance in the final minutes of the game.
The current Rookie of the Year delivered a monster double-double consisting of 18 points and 19 rebounds, in addition to two assists and two steals. On Saturday night’s game at the Mall of Asia Arena, UP was down after the third quarter when he nailed a crucial shot in the closing minutes of the contest. This helped UP overcome the deficit and win the game.
It was a close contest that saw a number of ties and lead changes, but the Fighting Maroons were able to maintain their composure down the stretch while La Salle’s offense struggled to score points.
Terrence Fortea, who replaced the injured JD Cagulangan as the lead guard for the University of the Philippines, finished with 15 points, nine assists, and six turnovers. However, he was responsible for just six of the University of the Philippines’ staggering 29 turnovers. Malick Diouf came close to recording a double-double, but he finished with only nine points and thirteen rebounds.
“I just had the impression that our defense was picking up its intensity, particularly in the third quarter of the game. The focus was more on defense than offense throughout the match. Because of this, the squad was able to take shots and it led to easy baskets, which meant that it was a huge asset for the team “Goldwin Monteverde, the head coach of the University of the Philippines, remarked.
Evan Nelle’s three-pointer with a little over three minutes left in the third quarter gave La Salle a lead of 54-46 and extended their lead to as many as 10 points. At that time, they had led by 10 points. But UP chipped away at their disadvantage over the course of the game, and by the time the fourth and final quarter rolled around, they were only behind by four points, with a score of 54-50.
The score was tied at 57 after a split at the line by Alarcon with 6 minutes and 23 seconds remaining, then UP skipper Brix Ramos put them in the lead for good with a three-point play at the six-minute mark, bringing the score to 60-57. Following a basket made by Diouf with 2:24 remaining in the game, the Maroons gained a commanding lead of five points, 66-61.
The Green Archers were able to stay in the game thanks to a tremendous three-pointer that was made by a first-year player for La Salle named Kevin Quiambao. This was Quiambao’s only second field goal of the game. But Tamayo was quick to answer to his high school buddy. Facing up against La Salle’s Michael Phillips, Tamayo hit a clutch jumper that gave them a 68-64 lead with only a minute and 17 seconds left to play in the game.
James Spencer’s bucket gave UP a lead of 70-64 with 6.6 seconds left to play, but Evan Nelle’s off-balance and difficult three-pointer gave the Green Archers some hope, bringing the score to 70-69. Schonny Winston and Quiambao both had shots that didn’t go in, which led to Spencer’s bucket and a 70-64 lead for UP.
In the final four seconds of the game, Tamayo was sent to the free throw line as a result of a duty foul committed by La Salle. Tamayo remained composed and made both of his shots, so tying the game. Nelle was unable to maintain possession of the ball in the final few seconds of play, which resulted in the Green Archers missing out on a chance to win.
Winston led all scorers with 27 points, but the UP restricted him to only four in the fourth quarter as they gained control of the game. Nelle ended with nine points, five assists, and four rebounds, while Phillips finished with eight points and 20 rebounds. None of the other Green Archers reached double figures in scoring.
Quiambao finished with eight points, however he only made two of his thirteen shots. The final three minutes of play saw him kick both of his field goals into the net.
La Salle scored on the University of the Philippines’ errors to the tune of 22 points, but the team had trouble executing in the half court, particularly when Winston was shackled.
UP 72 — Tamayo 18, Fortea 15, Diouf 9, Spencer 8, Lucero 7, Gonzales 7, Alarcon 5, Ramos 3, Abadiano 0, Galinato 0, Torculas 0, Eusebio 0, Lina 0, Calimag 0.
LA SALLE 69 — Winston 27, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Nonoy 8, Quiambao 5, Austria 4, Manuel 4, Nwankwo 2, Macalalag 2, B. Phillips 0.
Quarters: 16-17, 34-42, 50-54, 72-69.
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