UPMBT bags UAAP bronze

| Written by Arlyn VCD Palisoc Romualdo

#TeamAboveAll: The UP Fighting Maroons huddle before their second game against the UST Growling Tigers in the UAAP stepladder semifinals. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


The UP Fighting Maroons closed the men’s basketball tournament of UAAP Season 82 with a podium finish at third place. This after the UST Growling Tigers tore through UP’s second-seed twice-to-beat advantage in the stepladder semifinals to nab the finals berth. In its last UAAP match on November 13 at the MOA Arena, the Diliman squad lost to the team from España by three, 65-68.


Jun Manzo takes the three. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


UST started and held the lead, even by as much as 12, until UP’s Jun Manzo tied the game at 57, with less than six minutes left in the last quarter. The Fighting Maroons got its first lead, courtesy of Juan Gomez de Liaño’s basket. That lead was taken two points further by Ricci Rivero’s free throws, 61-57.


Juan Gomez de Liaño goes for the jumper against CJ Cansino. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


Then alternating fouls and baskets seesawed the UP lead from four to two to four. As the clock was approaching the last two minutes, Maroon captain Noah Webb fell to floor clutching his left knee after chasing down Mark Nonoy who had ball possession from across the court. No whistle was blown and the ball was still in play. He forced himself to get up and hopped on his right leg to get to the ball which was again in Nonoy’s hands. Webb was called for an unsportsmanlike foul, which Nonoy successfully converted, cutting down the UP lead to two, 63-61.


The game is stopped after an unsportsmanlike foul was called on an injured Noah Webb. Kobe Paras and Juan Gomez de Liaño react to the situation as staff from the Maroon bench and medics check on Webb. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


Kobe Paras slashes and slams through the double defense of Rhenz Abando and Dave Ando. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


Seconds later, Kobe Paras smashed the rim with a highlight off a pass from Javi Gomez de Liaño, to put the UP lead back up to four, 65-61. This was later pushed down to two again through Rhenz Abando’s layup with 1:15 left.


Jun Manzo is devastated after fouling out of the game. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


The Maroon crowd during Soulemane Chabi Yo’s free throw attempts in the dying seconds of the last quarter. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


But it was Tiger Renzo Subido’s three-pointer at the 24-second mark that turned back the Maroon lead, giving UST a narrow edge as the game clock winded down, 66-65. Two charities by Soulemane Chabi Yo at 4.4 seconds remaining clinched a three-point lead for UST, all the way to victory.


Jaybie Mantilla and Juan Gomez de Liaño deal with UP’s loss with bowed heads as Kobe Paras looks at the UST team singing its University Hymn. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


James Spencer and David Murrell console Juan Gomez de Liaño after UP lost to UST. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


Season 82 marks the Fighting Maroons’ back-to-back final four appearances. They were at number three last year, going into the semifinal round, where they had to win against the second ranked Adamson Falcons twice. And win they did—snatching the finals spot, battling with the Ateneo Blue Eagles, and closing Season 81 with a silver finish.

Since the final four format was introduced in the UAAP in 1993, UP has only made two other appearances before last year: 1996 and 1997.


Jun Manzo and Jaydee Tungcab shed tears after their last game as UP Fighting Maroons. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


Fighting Maroons who have played their last UAAP season for UP are Janjan Jaboneta, Pio Longa, Jaybie Mantilla, Jun Manzo, Jerson Prado, and Jaydee Tungcab. Prado and Manzo have signed on to play in the Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League with Iloilo United Royals and Zamboanga Family’s Brand Sardines, respectively.

Paras, meanwhile, was included in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Mythical Five, the awarding of which was held on November 20 at the MOA Arena.


Jaydee Tungcab and David Murrell carry Noah Webb off the court, with teammates Pio Longa, Janjan Jaboneta and James Spencer. (Photo by Misael Bacani, UP MPRO)


As for Webb’s injury, he was later diagnosed with a meniscus tear.  A torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) was initially suspected. “I’ll still need surgery but recovery time is only two to three months compared to [recovery from] an ACL tear, which is six to eight months,” he told this writer.