Spencer James Spencer of University of the Philippines makes a shot against two La Salle defenders. UAAP photo

UAAP: Maroons, Tigers prevail

October 2, 2022 Theodore P. Jurado 92 views

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines opened its title-retention bid with a nail-biting 72-69 win over La Salle in a thrilling Final Four rematch last night in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.

James Spencer’s fastbreak layup with 16 seconds to go gave the Fighting Maroons a 70-64 advantage when the Green Archers countered with a Mike Phillips putback off a Schonny Winston and a Evan Nelle triple to cut the deficit to one.

After Carl Tamayo hit two charities off a Mike Phillips foul in the final four seconds, La Salle tried to send the game into overtime but Nelle fumbled in the last play.

“It shows sa game na marami pa kaming kailangang ma-improve,” said Tamayo, who finished with a double-double outing of 18 points and 19 rebounds.

Terrence Fortea, filling in for injured JD Cagulangan, stepped up big with 15 points and nine assists for UP.

It was the same story just like in last season’s Final Four where the Fighting Maroons rallied to beat the Green Archers.

Earlier, Nic Cabañero dropped a career-high 33 points as University of Santo Tomas produced an opening day surprise by turning back preseason favorite, Adamson, 69-60, giving school legend Bal David his first collegiate coaching win.

In the women’s division, Tacky Tacatac shot 21 points as UST dismantled Adamson, 106-70, to mark the league’s first official game since November 23, 2019.

Cameroon’s Fina Tchuido debuted with 16 points and 12 rebounds as La Salle scored a 73-51 win over UP.

Cabañero’s jumper in the final 31.5 seconds proved to be the difference maker, giving the Growling Tigers the needed cushion at 65-60.

The first UST player to reach the 30-point mark since Marvin Lee scored 30 in UST’s 79-68 win over University of the East on Oct. 28, 2018, Cabañero’s 33-point outburst was the most by any Growling Tiger since Ed Daquioag’s scattered 34 in a 83-76 conquest of the Red Warriors on October 7, 2015.

Now UST’s main man as Sherwin Concepcion and Bryan Santos were declared ineligible prior to the start of the season due to age and Kean Baclaan made a controversial move to National University last August, Cabañero got a fitting advance birthday gift by leading his school to victory.

“Sobrang overwhelmed and blessed kasi pinagdadasal ko kasi I’m turning 19 kasi this Monday. Lagi kong ipinagdadasal na ibigay sa amin itong first win, hindi lang first pati yung upcoming games,” said Cabañero.

“Ito kasi ‘yung magbibitbit sa amin in the future, dito namin makukuha ‘yung kumpiyansa namin,” he added.

With his parents in town, Cabañero made sure to give his parents a show to remember and be proud of at the start of his second season with the Growling Tigers.

“Pumunta pa yung parents ko dito from Cebu eh so pinakita ko sa kanila kung paano ako maglaro,” said Cabañero.

“Sobrang thankful din ako kay coach Bal (David) kasi hinahayaan niya ako kung ano ‘yung gusto kong gawin sa court and naniniwala siya sa akin na kaya ko,” he added.

Both teams wore throwbacks, with UST wearing its 1993 jersey – the year that the España-based quad won the championship via 14-0 sweep.

A part of the champion team under the late Aric del Rosario, David is paying homage to the powerhouse Tigers squad that will inspire the squad.

“Kinakabahan ako kasi 14-0 iyon eh,” said David. “Bago ang team namin ang dami nating rookies. Mahirap naman sabihin na laging panalo. Yung 14-0, inspiration na lang siguro,” said David,

The Falcons, meanwhile, wore their retro 1977 kits – the season that they won the title led by Hector Calma.

The scores:

First game

UST (69) — Cabañero 33, Manaytay 7, Faye 6, Pangilinan 6, Mantes 5, Mantua 4, Calimag 3, Duremdes 2, Herrera 2, Manalang 1, Lazarte 0, Magdangal 0, Laure 0.
AdU (60) — Douanga 13, Yerro 13, Lastimosa 10, Hanapi 10, Sabandal 9, V. Magbuhos 3, Barcelona 2, Colonia 0, Manzano 0, Flowers 0, Barasi 0, Torres 0, Manlapaz 0, Jaymalin 0.
Quarterscores: 23-18, 42-38, 48-42, 69-60

Second game

UP (72) — Tamayo 18, Fortea 15, Diouf 9, Spencer 8, Lucero 7, Gonzales 7, Alarcon 5, Ramos 3, Torculas 0, Lina 0, Eusebio 0, Lina 0, Calimag 0.
DLSU (69) — Winston 27, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Nonoy 8, Quiambao 5, Austria 4, Manuel 4, Nwankwo 2, Macalalag 2, B. Phillips 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17, 34-42, 50-54, 72-69