UAAP: UP opens title retention quest with comeback win over La Salle

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 1) — The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons opened their title defense bid with a 72-69 victory over the De La Salle University Green Archers Saturday at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena in Pasay City.

Reigning Rookie of the Year Carl Tamayo powered the Fighting Maroons with 18 points, 19 rebounds, and two steals.

From the tip off, the Green Archers pushed the ball in every opportunity they got to dictate the tempo which resulted in a one-point advantage at the end of the first quarter.

La Salle's suffocating press court defense paved the way for the Taft-based squad to unleash an 11-0 blitz in the second frame and establish a 42-34 cushion going into halftime.

The Fighting Maroons gave the Green Archers a dose of their own medicine as they fought back with a 6-0 run to stay within striking distance at the end of the third period.

UP grabbed the lead midway through the fourth period through relentless attacks to the basket.

Kevin Quiambao came alive late in the match and Evan Nelle buried a cold-blooded triple as La Salle trimmed the deficit to just a point in the waning seconds of the game.

Tamayo sealed the win with two clutch free throws for UP.

Terrence Fortea chipped in 15 points, nine assists, and five rebounds for the Fighting Maroons.

Schonny Winston was the lone Green Archer who scored in double figures with 27 markers.

UP will next face host Adamson University, while La Salle battles University of Santo Tomas on Oct. 5, still at the MOA Arena.