UNIVERSITY of the Philippines is winless in Game 2s of the UAAP men’s basketball Finals in the Final Four era, having dropped all of its three contests.
On the cusp of regaining the throne, the Fighting Maroons hope to finally pull through this time.
Riding the crest of last Wednesday’s massive 97-67 victory over La Salle, UP goes for the jugular at 4 p.m. today before an expected full-house crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Since the start of the best-of-three Finals format in 1994, the winner of Game 1 went on to win the title 21 out of 28 times.
This argurs well on the Fighting Maroons, aside from the determination to put an end of their Game 2 jinx.
Still, graduating UP guard CJ Cansino reminded his troops to remain focused at the task at hand in the potential title clincher.
“Dahil naramdaman na rin namin matalo last season, kahit konting reminders na lang sa mga teammates ko. Pansin ko naman, lahat nagsasalita eh,” said Cansino.
“Lahat alam na hindi pa namin kailangan mag-celebrate, na kailangan pa namin magtrabaho,” he added.
The Green Archers are looking forward to come out swinging in Game 2 after absorbing the most lopsided Finals defeat in the Final Four era.
Soon-to-be named season MVP Kevin Quiambao vowed to bounce back after being limited to 11 points, six boards and three assists in the opener, a far cry from his 16.7-point, 10.9-rebound and six-assist average.
“Ang mindset lang is yung lagi kong sinasabi na one game at a time. Focus muna kami sa Game 2, kailangan lang namin kung ano pa yung pwede namin i-improve and then yung i-cover up yung mga things yung mga pagkakamali namin,” said Quiambao.
“This coming Game 2 expect niyo na ibang Kevin Quiambao yung lalaro,” he added.
La Salle turned the ball over 18 times in Game 1, as Quiambao noticed that his troops were struggling in getting things going on offense.
“I think hindi lang kami nakapag execute nang maayos, and ayun nga, na out of system kami,” Quiambao said.
Meanwhile, University of Santo Tomas seeks to secure its first women’s title since 2006 and end National University’s stranglehold on top at 12 noon.
The Tigresses halted a 20-game losing streak against the Lady Bulldogs which dating back from 2012 with a series-opening 76-72 victory.
Game 3, if necessary, is on Wednesday at the Big Dome.
In high school boys basketball action at the UST Quadricentennial Pavilion yesterday, Justine Garcia had 13 points and three assists while Vince Reyes chipped in 11 points and nine rebounds as Adamson subdued National University Nazareth School, 63-59, to extend its winning streak to three games.
John Alejandro produced a double-double of 23 points and 13 rebounds while Kristoper Lagat added 16 points as University of the East bested Ateneo, 73-70, to enter the win column after two straight losses.