The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons races today, May 4, to the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 men’s basketball tournament semifinals after clipping the Blue Eagles’ wings and putting Ateneo de Manila University’s (ADMU) winning streak to an abrupt end on May 1 with an edge-of-your-seat score of 84-83.
A traditional Final Four will determine UAAP season 84 men’s basketball championship with UP’s win. UP finished the eliminations round at second seed with 12 wins and two losses, right after the top-seeded ADMU with 13 wins and one loss. The Final Four are De La Salle University (DLSU), with nine wins and five losses, and Far Eastern University (FEU), with seven wins and seven losses. With these developments, UP and ADMU now have a twice-to-beat advantage over DLSU and FEU. UP and ADMU must be defeated twice by their opponents in a unilateral double elimination.
The first of the Final Four games will be held today, May 4, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. UP will square off against DLSU’s Green Archers at 2:00 p.m. today and again on May 6 at 2:00 p.m. ADMU’s match against FEU will be held on May 4 and again on May 6 at 6:00 p.m.
The finals will commence on May 8, following a best-of-three series.
Battle of Katipunan Redux
In the match last May 1, the UP Fighting Maroons dealt ADMU its first defeat in the Season, avenging the UPMBT’s first loss in the first round at the hands of ADMU. The loss is the Blue Eagles’ first defeat since their loss to FEU on October 10, 2018. Previously, ADMU has won 39 consecutive games against UP.
Down 77-81, UPMBT’s Malick Diouf drained two free throws before James Spencer drilled a booming trey from the top of the key to put the Fighting Maroons ahead, 82-81, with 43.6 seconds to go.
ADMU grabbed back the lead at 32.4 seconds, 83-82. Off a timeout, Ricci Rivero received the ball and called an iso, penetrated to the basket, and was fouled. He buried both coolly for UP, 84-83, with 22.2 seconds remaining. Diouf secured the board, and he was sent to the line and grabbed the board to secure the win.
Diouf had a monster game of 18 points, 16 rebounds, four assists, a steal, and a block. Carl Tamayo chalked up 16 points while Spencer got 12 points, six rebounds, and three assists.
UPMBT Coach Goldwin Monteverde called UP’s win against ADMU “a big achievement” for the Fighting Maroons, especially considering the Blue Eagles’ lengthy winning streak. “One thing good for me is yung team namin stayed as a team, no matter how close the game was,” he continued. “May mga ups and downs along the way and whatever we talked about on being a team, even in times of struggle. I’m happy about the win, but right now siyempre we need to think about also na yung bigger picture. We’re going on sa semifinals. We need to prepare for that.”
UPMBT’s Ricci Rivero thanked his teammates, Coach Monteverde, and the UP community, who came out to the MOA Arena to support the Fighting Maroons. This audience included UP System officials and many distinguished alumni. “I’m feeling just so happy and so blessed to be able to represent the community who supports us wholeheartedly,” he said. “I’m just so happy we are seeing what the team is capable of, and we showed that this UP team is something else as long as we listen to coaches, stick to our game plans, stick to the system and trust our teammates.”
UPMBT’s Diouf agreed, praising the team’s defense and offense, according to Coach Monteverde’s instructions. “Yeah, that was a good game. We all enjoyed it; the joy was there. I’m so happy right now.”
UP 84 – Diouf 18, Tamayo 16, Spencer 12, Cansino 11, Lucero 9, Rivero 8, Cagulangan 7, Fortea 3, Alarcon 0, Webb 0, Lina 0.
Ateneo 83 – Kouame 21, Ildefonso 18, Belangel 11, Andrade 10, Verano 7, Tio 6, Koon 5, Lazaro 2, Mendoza 2, Chiu 1, Mamuyac 0.
Quarterscores: 27-13, 50-44, 70-67, 84-83.
Photos and reporting by the UAAP Media Group.