By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Fresh off a sweeping two-game win against Iloilo City’s Elite Lab, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons arrived in Manila and immediately clinched a win in the PG Flex Linoleum UCBL Pre-Season tournament over Far Eastern University (FEU), 72-56.
It was once again incoming sophomore sensation Carl Tamayo who led UP in a physical game against FEU and finished with 19 big points and six rebounds.
The Tamaraws were still within striking distance in the first half after their shots from the three-point line started to fall and also capitalized on several UP miscues during their half-court sets.
Aside from their waxing hot three-point shooting, FEU’s more disciplined perimeter defense caused a lot of problems for the Fighting Maroons to execute and generate their points.
However, during the second half, the Fighting Maroons immediately smelled blood and left the Tamaraws behind, scoring and penetrating at will led by the savvy Sean Torculas who dropped 12 points in the game.
Also stepping up for the Fighting Maroons is former top recruit Terrence Fortea who backstopped Tamayo and Torculas with 10 points.
Tamayo then put on the finishing touches in the final canto and bulldozed his way in the paint every time the UP guards fed him in the left and right blocks.
With the hard-earned win, the Fighting Maroons grabbed the top spot in Group A and will be playing for the crossover quarterfinals.
In the other scheduled game of the UCBL, the National University Bulldogs thwarted Lyceum, 87-59, during their fourth game of the tournament.
The Bulldogs are bound to clinch the no.1 spot in Group B after finishing the elimination phase with an impressive 4-0 record.