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Maroons shoot down Blue Eagles to take an early lead in the UAAP finals 2022

Dec 12, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – After winning Game One of the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball finals, 72-66, on Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, the UP Fighting Maroons are on the verge of accomplishing a remarkable feat as they pursue their second UAAP championship this year. 

The defending champions moved one victory away from winning consecutive championships by tightening up their defense and forcing Ateneo to take out-of-system shots. 

After a strong offensive start, UP put in the grunt work on defense to thwart Ateneo’s comeback attempts.

UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde remarked, “Defensively, we started well. The Yung movement ng bola was really there. I loved the approach na ‘yung team went for the open guy. Na-sustain.” 

He continued, “They (Ateneo) had their run, but at least we were able to keep it up unto the fourth quarter of the match.”

The Maroons led by as many as 12 points, 34-22, in the first half, but the Blue Eagles were never far away and were never able to overcome it. 

With 7:24 remaining in the game, a triple by Ange Kouame helped the Blue Eagles cut the margin to two, 58-56. 

With 6:39 remaining, UP gained some breathing room again thanks to a Harold Alarcon three-pointer after Zavier Lucero successfully blocked Chris Koon. 

With 4:39 left, Alarcon finished off a 10-2 run by making a tremendous contested triple that increased the Maroons’ lead to 10, 68-58.

The Eagles, though, were on the verge of a comeback when they closed the gap to four, 70-66, with less than two minutes remaining. 

With 33 seconds left, Lucero blocked a Kouame putback attempt to give the ball back to UP, keeping the score the same. This time, defense proved to be the deciding factor. 

The Maroons’ defense also stopped an Ateneo basket, which helped them cling on for the victory even though they were unable to increase their lead in the closing minutes.

The total was increased by two free throws by JD Cagulangan. His final tally was 12 markers. 

With 14 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, and two blocks, Lucero guided UP to victory. 

Alarcon also contributed 11 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, and 1 steal.

With 16 and 15 points, Forthsky Padrigao and Kouame led Ateneo in the defeat. 

On Wednesday, December 14, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, UP aims to finish the game.

Scores at the end of the match

UP with 72 points

Individual scores: Lucero 14, Cagulangan 12, Alarcon 11, Diouf 9, Gonzales 8, Tamayo 7, Galinato 6, Spencer 5, Fortea 0, Abadiano 0

ATENEO with 66 points

Individual scores: Padrigao 16, Kouame 15, Ildefonso 10, Andrade 10, Koon 9, Lazaro 3, Chiu 2, Gomez 1, Ballungay 0, Daves 0, Quitevis 0, Lao 0

Scores per quarter

28-19, 42-35, 54-50, 72-66

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