UP routs NU to stay unbeaten at 3-0

By Jun Ray Navarres

University of the Philippines remained undefeated after a dominating performance against National University in a 78-60 win at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Saturday afternoon.

The bench scoring of the Fighting Maroons overpowered the Bulldogs, 40-25. Rookie Francis Lopez led the second string of UP with 14 points, seven rebounds, four assists, two steals, and one block.

Malick Diouf, on the other hand, proved his worthiness as the reigning Most Valuable Player with a double-double contribution of 12 points and 13 rebounds in a plus-21 efficiency.

“This is a good win for us in terms of early on (we could see) what we need to grow as a team,” said coach Goldwin Monteverde.

“As much as, you know, we’re really happy for this win, we have to keep level like this is just the third game of the season. We just have to keep on improving.”

The Fighting Maroons had a slow start, lagging behind NU at 9-13, after the first quarter. The former however found some footing after testing the waters, outscoring the Bulldogs in the three consecutive quarters, 12-21, 20-28, and 15-20, respectively.

NU managed to cut the lead down to six, but CJ Cansino, alongside Lopez and Diouf provided the much-needed run to ward off the Bulldogs at the end.

“It was a defensive game in the first half. The defense was sustaining,” added Monteverde.

“Dealing with a team like NU, you can’t possibly relax even off the ball, and I believe we took care of that earlier.”

JD Cagulangan supported UP with eight points, six rebounds, and five assists.

Also, Janjan Felicilda and Reyland Torres scored a combined 23 points for UP against their former teammates in NU.

UP parades an undefeated record of 3-0 in their quest for redemption after finishing second in last season’s version of the tournament.

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