University of the Philippines pounded University of Santo Tomas, 96-67, in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament, Thursday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Fighting Maroons, who hiked to 11-2, set their sights on playing spoiler to the sweep-looking Ateneo de Manila University on Sunday at 7 pm to cap the elimination round.
“Ever since nung talo namin sa Adamson, yung team namin, ginamit yun to improve,” said coach Goldwin Monteverde. “Hinahabol namin manalo each game. Kahit naman Ateneo or whatever team, nandun kami to give our best.”
UP needed little time to put a huge separation between the squads, zooming to a 26-11 first frame and never slowed down.
After playing steady basketball in the middle quarters, the Fighting Maroons entered the final period ahead by 20 points, 73-53.
RC Calimag's mid-range jumper at the 2:47 mark of the payoff period gave UP its biggest lead of the match at 33, 92-59.
Ricci Rivero topscored for the Fighting Maroons with 15 points, all from the first half, while CJ Cansino delivered 14 points and five rebounds.
Zavier Lucero chipped in 13 points and eight rebounds, while RC Calimag was a spark off the bench with 10 points on 5:32 of floor time.
Migs Pangilinan was the lone bright spot in the losing cause with 21 points on five threes as the Growling Tigers absorbed their 10th loss in 13 games.
UST will also look to play spoiler to postseason hopeful Far Eastern University at 12:30 pm on Sunday.
UP 96 - Rivero 15, Cansino 14, Lucero 13, Calimag 10, Cagulangan 9, Tamayo 7, Alarcon 7, Fortea 6, Diouf 6, Spencer 3, Ramos 2, Webb 2, Catapusan 2, Lina 0, Abadiano 0.
UST 67 - Pangilinan 21, Gomez de Liaño 9, Mantua 6, Ando 6, Manalang 5, Fontanilla 4, Cabañero 4, Manaytay 4, Concepcion 3, Herrera 3, Canoy 2, Samudio 0, Yongco 0, Gesalem 0.
Quarterscores: 26-11, 53-33, 73-53, 96-67. (Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist)