MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) men’s basketball team will be inspired as they make their second trip to the Finals by an incredible feat that has never been accomplished in UAAP men’s basketball thanks to the pandemic: winning the championship twice in one season.
The National University (NU) Bulldogs were chased out of the building by the reigning champions after they rallied to win the opening game of their Season 85 Final Four matchup, 69 to 61, on Wednesday.
“This victory is crucial. The defensive-minded player Gerry Abadiano, whose slanting short jumper late in the fourth quarter sparked UP’s strong run that eliminated the Bulldogs, stated, “We have the possibility to make history if we win back-to-back Finals.
Adamson was easily dispatched by Ateneo as well, 81 to 60, allowing o them to go to the Finals and have a second chance to face the Maroons.
Beginning with the start of the best-of-three series on Saturday, the Eagles can begin to avoid becoming regrettable footnotes in the Maroons’ quest for history.
The Maroons’ trip to the best-of-three Finals, where UP might become the only team to accomplish the feat, was speedier this time than it had been on their way to the championship the previous season.
We will be very grateful for the two championships. After the Maroons failed to fully capitalize on their twice-to-beat advantage over the third-ranked Bulldogs, UP coach Goldwyn Monteverde said, “We’ve been working hard for this, to be in the Finals.
Malick Diouf put on an outstanding performance and is certain to win the MVP award for the season, but the 6-foot-10 Senegalese player won’t be satisfied with just winning an individual prize.
“The Finals are more crucial than the MVP in my mind right now,” he said. Diouf, who put up respectable numbers of 17 points and 21 rebounds in a successful, all-around performance, stated that this victory made him and his team happy since it gave them the chance to play back-to-back games in the Finals.
The Maroons defeated the Bulldogs 9 to 0 in the closing minutes, with JD Cagulangan finishing the victory with a free throw and a three-pointer in his preferred corner that was reminiscent of his valiant shot in the previous season’s championship game.
Ineffective offensive performance
As a result, the Bulldogs were left without a field goal in the final four minutes. On the other end, NU simply couldn’t buy a basket, squandering all of its efforts in a significant period.
Kean Baclaan’s high-arching three-pointer connected to give NU a lead of 59 to 56, but the Bulldogs ultimately blew the opportunity after failing all of their subsequent field goal tries.
Zavier Lucero also made a significant contribution, filling in for Carl Tamayo, who hurt his ankle in the first quarter, by scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
With only five minutes remaining in the game, Tamayo unintentionally trod on Michael Malonzo’s foot during a rebound scuffle and had to be helped off the court with his right foot in excruciating pain.
It alarmed the Maroons and calmed the UP supporters who had flocked to Smart Araneta Coliseum in large numbers.
“Carl left us in the opening frame. He wasn’t fully recovered, but we rose to the occasion,” said Monteverde, who was relieved to learn that his all-around forward could play in the championship opener.
“The fact that we were able to beat NU is a major deal. We’re back in the Finals, so it doesn’t matter if it takes two games or one,” Monteverde said.