Austria CJ Austria shows love at the DLSU crowd during Game 2 of the UAAP men’s basketball Finals Sunday. Austria gave UP headaches, contributing 11 points in a reserve role. UAAP photo

Fighting Maroons learn their lessons

December 4, 2023 Theodore P. Jurado 220 views

IT was a tough Game 2 defeat, but University of the Philippines cannot dwell it for so long.

Coach Goldwin Monteverde encouraged his Fighting Maroons to accept the outcome and move to the winner-take-all match tomorrow.

La Salle leveled the UAAP men’s basketball Finals series to one game apiece following a 92-70 romp of UP Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“It is what it is, kung ano nangyari today… We’re gonna look inside us kung ano ang dapat naming ginawa. Importante rito may Game 3 pa, so nandoon pa yung tsansa namin,” Monteverde said.

“Learn from it lang.”

The Fighting Maroons started strong, racing to a 12-2 lead, but the Green Archers, staring at a possibility of a repeat of a massive 30-point rout in the series opener, dug deep on its reserves.

True enough, La Salle won in the bench points category with 47 compared to UP’s 24, with Joshua David and CJ Austria contributing 12 and 11 points, respectively.

It was Francis Escandor and Austria who turned the tables around for the Green Archers in the second quarter, outscoring the Fighting Maroons, 20-11, to seize the upper hand at 44-38.

UP has lost all four Game 2s since the 2018 Finals. The Diliman-based side was also forced into do-or-die games by Ateneo in both the Seasons 84 and 85 Finals series last year.

For Monteverde, the opportunity to play in Game 3 entails the same reward – the championship.

“‘Pag Finals, from the very start of the game dapat alam mo na what’s at stake. Anong klaseng intensity, focus na haharapin mo, whatever pressure is involved here,” Monteverde said.