Malick Diouf led the Maroons with enormous numbers as the defending champion University of the Philippines gained momentum in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament.
The 6-foot-11 slotman helped the Fighting Maroons win a position in the Final Four with a 9-1 record overall, including a 3-0 season this week, by stringing together back-to-back games with consecutive career-highs in scoring.
In UP’s 83-69 thrashing of UE, Diouf earned the title of man of the match for the second game in a row with 23 points, 15 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks.
The Senegalese big man scored 20 points, tying a career high, in UP’s 91-70 victory over Adamson.
He was effective on 10-of-13 field goals, including a perfect 7-foot-7 clip in the first half as the Maroons dominated UE by a score of 12-0 on their way to their sixth straight victory.
Diouf’s performance earned him the Collegiate Press Corps UAAP Player of the Week award for the week of October 30 to November 5 presented by San Miguel Corporation and the Philippine Sports Commission. He was chosen for the weekly honor over teammate Zavier Lucero, National University’s Jolo Manansala, FEU’s Bryan Sajonia, Adamson’s Cedrick Manzano, and Ateneo’s Ange Kouame by print and online media covering the league.
Diouf averaged 16 points, 10.3 rebounds, three assists, one steal, and 1.6 blocks per game during UP’s three-game run.
With Diouf at the helm, UP enters a 12-day FIBA break alone in first place and with a number of games remaining in the Final Four. The Maroons will play in their fourth consecutive semifinal.
“Break? I don’t think we’re going to have a break. We’re going to practice every day. But, for now, we just have to focus on the next games. Like, be ready.” said Diouf.
Previously with UP Maroons vs UE Warriors
University of the Philippines defeated University of the East 83-69 on Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum to clinch at least a playoff for a Final Four position in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball competition.
With 1:07 left, the Fighting Maroons restored order with a decisive 10-0 blitz led by Malick Diouf and Zavier Lucero, bringing the score to 81-64 in their favor.
With 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting, 15 rebounds, four assists, three steals, and two blocks, Diouf once again set a career high.
Lucero scored 17 points, had four assists, and grabbed two rebounds as UP won six straight games.
After the Fighting Maroons lost control of an early 18-point lead, 32-14, in the first quarter, their efforts were crucial. The Diliman team committed 24 fouls during the game, which led to UE’s 20-of-26 free throw percentage.
The 23 turnovers by UP, which UE converted into 13 simple baskets, caused the champion coach a lot of trouble.
In a contest where Carl Tamayo failed to register a point in 12 minutes of action, Terrence Fortea and Harold Alarcon each finished with 10 points for the Fighting Maroons.
Stevens’ career-best performance was in vain as UE lost its fourth straight game to drop to 4-6. He finished with 23 points, six rebounds, and three steals.
Nikko Paranada scored 13 points, while his brother Kyle contributed 15 points, four assists, and two rebounds.