University of the Philippines used a strong fourth quarter surge to turn back National University, 84-76, for its seventh straight win in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City Tuesday, April 12.
It was a total team effort as Carl Tamayo, Zavier Lucero, Ricci Rivero, and Joel Cagulangan joined forces in the payoff period to rebuild the momentum that the Fighting Maroons have mounted in the first half.
UP, which also had key contributions from the bench, took control midway through the last frame before NU attempted a late comeback down the stretch.
But it was Tamayo who spelled the difference after leading the Maroons with 21 points spiked by two triples to go with 10 rebounds and three steals.
"We started strong nung first quarter, siguro sa lahat ng games namin dito kami nakapag-start ng madiin talaga," said Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde said.
"But sa third quarter, dumami 'yong turnovers namin so we need to see what errors to improve pa rin. Definitely, coming from this win meron pa kaming male-learn e. Kailangan lang namin makita to move on."
The win also propelled UP, which improved to a 7-1 record, to capture its longest streak yet since the Final Four Era began.
Rivero posted 16 points and six rebounds, Lucero had 16 points and eight rebounds, Cagulangan contributed seven points, eight assists, and three rebounds, while Malick Diouf added seven points and six rebounds.
Just when NU kept the game within striking distance after a Clemente three, 68-66, UP unloaded a 10-0 run to escape and take another 12-point lead, 78-66, with less than four minutes left in the final quarter.
The Bulldogs never wavered, took it one basket at a time, and trailed only by six, 82-76, after Michael Malonzo sank two free throws in the waning seconds.
With 17.2 ticks left, Reyland Torres had two huge chances off a UP turnover to make it a three-point affair but missed his shots from beyond the arc before Terrence Fortea showed poise and iced the game with a pair of free throws.
John Lloyd Clemente scored 18 points along with three rebounds, Torres had 15 points, four rebounds, and four steals, and Shaun Ildefonso chipped in 11 points and four rebounds for the Bulldogs, who slipped to a 4-4 slate.
UP 84 -- Tamayo 21, Rivero 16, Lucero 16, Cagulangan 7, Diouf 7, Alarcon 5, Webb 5, Fortea 4, Abadiano 3, Spencer 0, Catapusan 0.
NU 76 -- Clemente 18, Torres 15, Ildefonso 11, Malonzo 9, Minerva 8, Felicilda 5, Gaye 4, Joson 2, Figueroa 2, Manansala 2, Tibayan 0, Enriquez 0, Mahinay 0.
Quarters: 26-14, 42-35, 62-58, 84-76.