University of the Philippines stretched its winning streak to eight games, sneaking past Far Eastern University, 73-70, in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament, Tuesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Knotted at 70-all, Fighting Maroon Zavier Lucero made the go-ahead basket with a mid-range jumper at the 1:26 mark of the fourth quarter, 72-70.
But missed free throws by UP put Tamaraws in striking distance throughout the endgame as Malick Diouf, Carl Tamayo, and Harold Alarcon went 1-of-6 from the line.
However, FEU could not capitalize as RJ Abarrientos missed both of his three-point attempts down the stretch.
“Yung defense namin, especially nung third quarter doon pumick-up so doon namin nakuha yung confidence then tuloy-tuloy na hanggang dulo,” Fighting Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde said.
After an opening day loss, the Fighting Maroons have never dropped a single game to move to 8-1, just behind the undefeated Ateneo de Manila University.
Ricci Rivero tallied a game-high 19 points to go with five rebounds and two assists for UP.
Tamayo added 14 points, six rebounds, and three blocks, while CJ Cansino had 12 points.
Emman Ojuola unleashed 16 points on 16 shots with 14 rebounds, three steals, and two blocks as the Tamaraws slid to 3-6 after their third-straight defeat.
Red-hot UP will seek its ninth consecutive win on Thursday against Adamson University at 4:30 pm. FEU will aim to end its skid at 12:30 pm against National University.
UP 73 -- Rivero 14, Tamayo 14, Cansino 12, Alarcon 8, Lucero 7, Diouf 7, Cagulangan 3, Fortea 3, Webb 0, Abadiano 0, Spencer 0, Calimag 0, Catapusan 0.
FEU 70 -- Ojuola 16, Abarrientos 13, Gonzales 13, Torres 9, Sandagon 6, Tempra 5, Alforque 3, Bienes 3, Li 2, Coquia 0, Sajonia 0.
Quarterscores: 16-17, 34-37, 57-54, 73-70. (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)