Zavier Lucero put on a show after halftime and led the University of the Philippines to a 98-82 win against University of Santo Tomas in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Tuesday night, March 29.
Lucero, a former Cal State Maritime Academy standout, scored eight of his 18 points in the third period as the Fighting Maroons carried on with the momentum they earned in the second quarter.
Ricci Rivero topscored for the Maroon with 19 points including seven free throws with three rebounds, Lucero finished on an efficient 9-of-14 shooting to go with eight rebounds and three steals, Carl Tamayo posted 18 points and eight rebounds, and James Spencer added 11 points including three pivotal triples and four rebounds.
CJ Cansino had seven points and five rebounds in his first game against his former squad.
UP, courtesy of Lucero, Tamayo, Rivero, and Joel Cagulangan, unloaded a 13-0 run heading into the third period to take their first lead of the game at 51-48.
Still up by one after a Spencer drive, 57-56, UP once again uncorked a commanding 20-4 blitz to put up an 18-point gap and pull away for good en route to the blowout win.
"'Yon talaga threat namin in a way, 'yong pressing defense namin,” said UP coach Goldwin Monteverde. "The most important thing for me dito is nakita ko yung bounce back namin in the previous game and during this game."
Sherwin Concepcion paced the Tigers with 19 points including six triples with five rebounds, Joshua Fontanilla chalked up 17 points and five rebounds, and Nic Cabañero had 16 points and four rebounds.
Miguel Pangilinan also chipped in 13 points and four rebounds for UST, which was marred with 29 turnovers compared to UP's 21.
The Tigers were able to build a 13-point lead midway through the second quarter after sparking an 11-3 run through the efforts of Pangilinan and Cabañero.
But UP capitalized on UST's sudden collapse in the payoff period as it converted 14 points off turnovers.
The Maroons will clash with the National University Bulldogs on Thursday, March 31 at 4 p.m. while the Tigers will face the University of the East to cap the night at 7 p.m.
UP 98 -- Rivero 19, Lucero 18, Tamayo 18, Spencer 11, Cansino 7, Cagulangan 6, Diouf 6, Catapusan 6, Alarcon 5, Abadiano 2, Eusebio 0, Lina 0, Ramos 0, Calimag 0.
UST 82 -- Concepcion 19, Fontanilla 17, Cabanero 16, M. Pangilinan 13, Manalang 7, Santos 6, Manaytay 4, Ando 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Garing 0, R. Pangilinan 0, Mantua 0, Samudio 0, Yongco 0, Herrera 0.
Quarters: 16-25, 42-48, 78-63, 98-82.