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UPIS, UST flex muscles

University of the Philippines Integrated School flirted with disaster while University of Santo Tomas delivered a strong finishing kick as University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 high school basketball event unwrapped yesterday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

The Junior Maroons banked on a balanced assault to eked out a thrilling 101-94 overtime victory over University of the East while the Tiger Cubs bucked a slow start before registering a 56-46 victory over De La Salle Zobel in the second game of the scheduled opening-day salvo.

Basty Jacob, Daryl Valdeavilla, Jonas Napalang, Rocco Melicor, and Kobe Demisana bannered the scoring parade to help UPIS register its first victory since the coronavirus pandemic.

Jacob fired 19 points, nine rebounds and four steals while Valdeavilla, Napalang, and Melicor chipped in 18, 17 and 16 points, respectively.

Demisana, a 6-foot-8 slotman, lived up to the hype in his first game in the UAAP as he finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks, four assists and two steals in 29 minutes of action.

“We’re happy with this win because we’ve been waiting for this since 2020, especially for Kobe and other rookies. I’m glad that they experienced UAAP action,” Junior Maroons coach Paolo Mendoza said.

JD Malonzo fired 15 points while Andrei de Leon and Drei Grasgasin chipped in 13 markers apiece for the Junior Red Warriors.

In the second game, the Tiger Cubs flaunted their might after the halftime break as they overhauled a 17-26 deficit into a 38-all deadlock heading into the fourth period.

It was all UST in the payoff period as it outscored DLSZ, 19-9 with James Jumao-as leading the way with 17 points and four rebounds.

“I’m glad that our graduating players like James, JP Pangilinan and Mark Llemit had stepped up,” Tiger Cubs coach Jinino Manansala said.

JP Pangilinan and Charles Esteban had 10 apiece for UST while the Junior Archers banked on Rhyle Melencio’s 13 points and 12 rebounds.

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