University of the East played the spoiler’s role to University of the Philippines star Jett Manuel’s farewell game as the Red Warriors carved out an 80-67 victory over the Fighting Maroons on Sunday in the UAAP Season 79 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Guards Philip Manalang, Bonbon Batiller and Renz Palma came through with solid offensive numbers as the Red Warriors took control early on and led by as many as 23 points on the way to an impressive victory over the Fighting Maroons.
UE, already out of the Final Four contention, stopped a four-game bleeding and improved to 3-10 overall. U, meanwhile, closed out its campaign with a 5-9 mark.
“We played to our full potential today. UP was able to come back and we were able to hang on. We know how UP plays, I’m happy with the energy na pinakita ng mga players and tonight we played to our potential,” said UE coach Derrick Pumaren.
Along with fellow graduating players Renz Asilum and dave Moralde, the 6-foot-2 Manuel failed to bow out in triumph as the Fighting Maroons struggled against the Red Warriors’ strong start and sustained defensive stance.
Batiller overcame a head injury scare in the second frame and tallied 14 points—the same output given by Palma and Manalang—to help the Red Warriors avenge a 71-75 loss to the Fighting Maroons in their first-round meeting last Sept. 21.
Manuel had a team-high 13 points but he mainly struggled from the field, making just three of his 10 tries, while Moralde and Paul Desiderio combined for 25 markers in a losing cause for UP. – Jerome Lagunzad
UE (80) – Batiller 14, Manalang 14, Palma 14, Pasaol 11, Bartolome 7, Varilla 6, Olayon 5, Derige 3, Abanto 2, Acuno 2, Gagate 2, Charcos 0.
UP (67) – Manuel 13, Moralde 13, Desiderio 12, Webb 6, Asilum 5, Gomez De Liano 5, Vito 5, Dario 3, Lao 2, Lim 2, Harris 1, Jaboneta 0, Prado 0.
Quarterscores: 20-17, 42-28, 65-44, 80-67.