Sun Star Bacolod


- Cebu)

THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippine­s Fighting Maroons moved to the cusp of getting another UAAP men’s basketball title after they clobbered the De La Salle University Green Archers in Game 1, 9767, on Wednesday night, November 29, 2023 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

While many expected the game to go down the wire much like their encounters in the eliminatio­n round, the Fighting Maroons had other plans and authored the most lopsided finals win in the last 25 years. The 30-point win of UP was the largest margin of victory in a finals game since 1998 when La Salle blew away the Far Eastern University by 25 points, 72-47, in Season 61.

UP’S stifling defense was what made all the difference in the high-intensity encounter as the Fighting Maroons held the Green Archers to just 67 points—13 below their average in the eliminatio­n round.

“Yung team really executed the game plan and defense was really great,” said UP head coach Goldwin


“We just have to sustain and know that the Finals will not be won with one game but it’s a series. Dapat we have to know what to work on and be ready for the next game.”

Already up by 12 heading into the second half, the Fighting Maroons

broke the game wide open as Francis Lopez and Harold Alarcon blasted the Green Archers defense, combining for 17 points in the canto to establish a 77-55 lead entering the fourth.

UP will go for the championsh­ip on Sunday, 4 p.m., at the SMART Araneta

Coliseum while La Salle will look to force a decider.

Alarcon finished with 21 points on 8-of-9 clip from the line, while Lopez ended with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

“Masasabi ko lang hindi pa ito yung pwedeng magsaya. Hindi pa tapos yung laban, siguro after nito magfocus na kami sa next game,” said Alarcon, a third-year guard out of Silay City.

JD Cagulangan chipped 11 points, Gerry Abadiano got 10 points, while Malick Diouf and Aldous Torculas flirted with double-double performanc­es. Diouf had nine points and 15 rebounds while Torculas added nine markers and 11 boards.

UP forced La Salle to 18 turnovers, translatin­g them to 24 easy points on the other end. The Fighting Maroons also the Green Archers to 2-of-23 shooting from three-point-land.

Energetic big man Mike Phillips led the Green Archers with 19 points and nine rebounds, while the presumptiv­e league MVP Kevin Quiambao had 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists.*(sunstar

 ?? UAAP PHOTO ?? INCREDIBLE ILONGGO: Harold Alarcon put up 21 points to lead UP to the seriesopen­ing victory▪
UAAP PHOTO INCREDIBLE ILONGGO: Harold Alarcon put up 21 points to lead UP to the seriesopen­ing victory▪

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