Season 81’s MVP Bright Akhuetie led the Fighting Maroons with the game’s highest 19 points and 16 rebounds on their second match, September 6, 2019 at Smart Araneta, in UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball first-round games. But the team’s effort proved inadequate against the UST Growling Tigers’ scoring prowess. UP suffered a crushing 69-85 loss, fresh from winning its first game with the FEU Tamaraws three days prior.
Ricci Rivero drew first blood with a three-pointer, followed by Akhuetie and Noah Webb’s inside and penalty shots, resulting in the Fighting Maroons’ biggest lead, 12-6. The Tigers then unleashed a rally buoyed by Rhenz Abando’s trey. Three consecutive shots by Dave Ando finally broke UP’s lead and sealed UST’s advantage, 14-19, which UP would not be able to surmount.
Saddled by a 37-44 lead by UST after the first half, UP’s hope was regained on the third quarter as David Murrell and Javi Gomez de Llano’s successful shots narrowed UST’s lead, until Murrell’s follow-up shot tied the game at 46-46 halfway through the quarter. UST’s Chabi Chabiyo was quick, however, to wrest the lead back for UST. The third quarter ended with UST’s lead down to five, 58-63.
The fourth quarter saw UP losing steam, with UST making its first point out of a steal from Rivero to build up its final 32 points against UP’s 10.
UP’s Kobe Paras did not see action in the games on account of a sprained ankle.
“We need to share the ball more,” said Fighting Maroons coach Dolreich “Bo” Perasol in the post-game interview. “We were [just] trying to watch everybody make things happen. . . .If Juan [or] Ricci [or] Bright. . . makes the shot, we’re all [just] watching them and hoping that things will happen the right way. . . and that’s the tendency when you have very good teammates.”
“We really need to play good defense. . . . At the end of this, you know you have good opponents also,” he added. The Growling Tigers had a 47-percent field goal, as against UP’s 31 percent.
UP 69: Akhuetie 19, Ja. Gomez de Llano 15, Jaydee Tungcab 11, Murrell 6, Juan Gomez de Llano 5, Jun Manzo 5, Rivero 4, Webb 4
UST 85: Chabiyo 18, Mark Nonoy 16, Renzo Subido 13, Abando 12, Ando 10, Zach Huang 9, Brent Paraiso 6, CJ Cansino 1