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UP escapes La Salle to remain unbeaten

Photo courtesy of Smart Sports

The University of the Philippines picked up its sixth straight win after escaping De La Salle University, 67-64, in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena Wednesday evening.

With a slim 65-64 lead in the last 2.9 seconds of the fourth quarter, Reyland Torres calmly sank both of his free throws for a three-point cushion.

CJ Cansino then stole the ball from the Green Archers’ inbound play in the final seconds of the game as UP got away with a win to remain on top of the standings after winning six in as many games in the country’s premier collegiate league.

Gerry Abadiano led the Maroons with 13 points while Harold Alarcon scored 10 points.

Reigning UAAP MVP Malick Diouf had another double-double output with 10 points and 12 rebounds for UP as they look to end the first round spotless when it faces defending champion Ateneo de Manila University.

Maroons head coach Goldwin Monteverde said defense remained a big part of their system en route to a win.

He also said he will prepare his wards the best way he could against the Blue Eagles and isn’t worried about reliving their Season 85 finals match.

“Defense is always the key. It was a collective effort from everybody,” Monteverde said.

“Honestly, I haven’t thought much about Ateneo. But like all teams, we will prepare for them. The important part for us is to be healthy before Sunday and prepare for it.”

Mike Phillips led La Salle with a double-double game of 15 points and 14 rebounds in a losing effort.

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