By Jun Ray Navarres
University of the Philippines put out nine-game win streak of De La Salle University to take game one of UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Finals, 97-67 Wednesday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The 30-point victory was the largest finals lead since Season 61’s DLSU versus Far Eastern University game of 72-47.
The Fighting Maroons now boasts a three-season streak of winning Game Ones as they managed to stop Season 86 MVP Kevin Quiambao and the Green Archers with a defensive masterclass.
“Yung team really executed the game plan and defense was really great,” said UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde.
“We just have to sustain and know that the Finals will not be won with one game but it’s a series. Dapat, we have to know what to work on and be ready for the next game.”
Closing in at 28-24 after the first period, the Green Archers suddenly struggled from the field for a 25-17 meltdown in the second stanza scoring. The Fighting Maroons followed the onslaught after the half time break for an even better 24-14 third quarter, ballooning the lead, 77-53.
DLSU head coach Topex Robinson tried various five-man combinations on the court but to no avail, suffering one of the most one-sided games in UAAP.
“Obviously UP just showed us why they’re the number one team in the UAAP right now. At this point, we really can’t look for other excuses but to bounce back,” said Robinson.
Harold Alarcon stepped up for the guys in white, producing 21 points while Francis Lopez added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. The third-year guard of UP, aside from providing the offensive power, also limited Quiambao to just 11 points in a struggling 4 out of 10 field goal night.
The Fighting Maroons outplayed the Green Archers in every aspect of the game, especially in converting turnovers into points, making 24 baskets in DLSU’s 18 turnovers.
Their depth also proved too much for La Salle, outscoring 56-45 in starter points while donning a 41-22 advantage in bench scoring.
Only Mike Phillips joined Quiambao in double digit scoring of 19 points and nine rebounds.
Game two of the UAAP Season 86 finals will be played on Sunday, 4PM at the Araneta Coliseum.
Featured photo courtesy of UAAP
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