UP suffers twin losses in UAAP basketball

| Written by Arlyn VCD Palisoc Romualdo

Push on, UP! Fighting Maroons supporters raise their fists for “UP Naming Mahal,” singing as one community to show their continued support for the University’s men’s basketball team despite losing to the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


It was not the ideal way to close the first round of the University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 82 basketball eliminations in the seniors division. UP lost to Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) in women’s and men’s basketball on September 29 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.


Stiffany Larrosa keeps the ball away from Katrina Guytingco’s prying hand. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


The Lady Maroons, looking to clinch their first win this season, went up against the Lady Eagles, who were gunning to end their four-game losing streak. In the end, UP struggled to keep up with ADMU and ended the game with a 14-point deficit, 62-76.


Stiffany Larrosa drives to the basket. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Sophia Rivera barges through Lady Eagle defense. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


UP started slow as the end of the first quarter saw it trailing by nine, 16-25. But the Lady Maroons rallied, banking six two-point field goals and four out of eight charity shots, for a total of 16 added points in the second quarter. The Lady Eagles meanwhile, only managed ten, owing to two triples, two from the line, and one from the field.


Erica Gusilatar lays it up. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Cindy Gonzales takes the inside shot. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


With only a three-point lead by Ateneo at the end of the first half, 35-32, UP was ready to battle it out in the third. But an early 6-0 run by the Blue and White team stopped the Maroon and Green squad from scoring. That is, until Lulu Ordoveza broke through with a basket from an inbound pass, which was then countered by Nicole Cancio’s two.


Patricia Pesquera stops and jumps for the basket. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Lady Maroon Rhea Sanchez replied, booking a back-to-back two and three, all within thirty seconds. Teammate Patricia Pesquera followed up with another two, for the 7-0 run, which was halted by a two-pointer from Ateneo’s Katrina Guytingco. Foul trouble soon followed UP, with Guytingco sinking five of six shots from the line. Despite two more baskets on the Maroon side by Erica Gusilatar and Pesquera, the third quarter ended with UP behind by ten, 47-57.


Jonalyn Lebico breaks away from Lady Eagle Jhazmin Joson and goes for two. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


And the onslaught continued. As in the previous quarter, the Lady Maroons scored 15 points, not enough against the Lady Eagles’ 19. At the end of the first round, UP’s scorecard in women’s basketball is 0-7.

Later that day, the Fighting Maroons faced the Blue Eagles in the much hyped first meeting since facing off in the Season 81 finals.


Kobe Paras steals and runs away with the ball all the way to the basket. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


It was as tense as expected, with a good amount of cheering and jeering from the almost 20,000-strong crowd, plenty of shouts on calls and non-calls from both Blue and Maroon sides, and four technical fouls to boot. Add the ejection of UP Head Coach Bo Perasol and it certainly was an explosive way to end the first round of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament.


Javi Gomez de Liaño challenges the taller Ateneo center Ange Kouame to make two for UP. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Despite its hot start, ending the first quarter with a six-point lead at 21-15, UP was unable to keep its momentum and eventually lost to Ateneo, 63-89.

Top-seed ADMU started pulling away in the second quarter with three runs that limited UP’s quarter points to ten. Blue Eagle SJ Belangel’s two charities off a foul called on Kobe Paras less than twenty seconds in, were answered by Ricci Rivero in the paint. Then the 7-0 run by Ateneo happened. Paras barged through Ange Kouame’s defense at the 04:17 mark to halt the string of Blue baskets.


Juan Gomez de Liaño goes around Blue Eagle Thirdy Ravena’s defense for the layup. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


ADMU retaliated with another run at 6-0, only to be stopped by Kouame’s foul on UP center Bright Akhuetie, who aced his points from the line. He later tapped the ball off Blue Eagle Thirdy Ravena’s dribble toward fellow Maroon Janjan Jaboneta, who then passed the ball to Paras before crossing the court to make two inside points. Kouame then sank a two, followed by Matt Nieto, who got a bonus free throw from another foul slapped on Paras. Kouame was also called for another foul against Akhuetie, who made two for two again. UP was down by four at the end of the first half, 31-35.


Ricci Rivero goes for the reverse off a pass from Jun Manzo. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


The UP Pep Squad’s impeccable pyramids at halftime. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Ateneo started building a solid lead against UP in the third quarter, the most heated and controversial part of the match. This quarter saw two technical fouls for excessive complaining. The first, called on ADMU Head Coach Tab Baldwin less than two minutes in. The second was on Akhuetie less than a minute later, immediately after a personal foul had just been called on him and he had already crossed to the other court.


Kobe Paras (left photo) and Jun Manzo (right photo) pacify teammate Bright Akhuetie, who was angry at the technical foul called on him immediately after he had been slapped with a personal foul. Photos by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Around two minutes later, Fighting Maroons Head Coach Bo Perasol charged into the playing court while the ball was live, confronting Referee Jaime Rivano. He got a disqualifying foul and was ejected from the game. The Blue Eagles were up by 12 points then, 47-35. Assistant Coach Ricky Dandan took over in Coach Perasol’s absence, but UP’s 15 points was no match for ADMU’s 26. The third quarter ended with a 15-point lead for Ateneo, 61-46.


Jerson Prado, Kobe Paras, Noah Webb, and Bright Akhuetie lead Coach Bo Perasol off the court as Team Manager Jonvic Remulla signals for them to come over to the sideline. Perasol earlier charged at a referee, frustrated at the two back-to-back fouls on Akhuetie—the latter one a technical that Perasol deemed “irrational.” Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


Jun Manzo shoots from the perimeter, his fourth consecutive basket following two field goals and one technical free throw. Manzo accounted for all UP points in the first half of the fourth quarter. Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO.


In the final quarter, both teams scored two points higher than their previous quarter scores. ADMU made 28. UP banked 17—three two-pointers and one technical free throw from Jun Manzo all in the first three and a half minutes; a couple of field goals and a charity from Juan Gomez de Liaño; another two-pointer from his brother Javi; and, a basket from beyond the arc from Paras. The final score was a 26-point heartbreaker for UP, 63-89.

UP will face Far Eastern University in its first of the second round matches in both women’s and men’s tournaments on October 6 at the Mall of Asia Arena, 10am and 4pm, respectively.


Watch the highlights of the game:

UP-ADMU Men’s Basketball Round 1

Video by KIM Quilinguing, UP MPRO.


UP-ADMU Women’s Basketball Round 1

Video by KIM Quilinguing, UP MPRO.