THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines remains plagued by the Game 2 curse.

4 December 2023

Games Wednesday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
8 a.m. – UPIS vs FEU-D (Boys)
10 a.m. – DLSZ vs UST (Boys)
12 noon – NU vs UST (Women Finals)
6 p.m. – UP vs DLSU (Men Finals)

THE UNIVERSITY of the Philippines remains plagued by the Game 2 curse.

La Salle asserted dominance in the second quarter and controlled the latter half, convincingly defeating UP, 82-60, Sunday.

This victory forced another game in the UAAP men’s basketball Finals, captivating a crowd of 20,863 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Despite UP’s initial burst, securing a 12-2 lead with Malick Diouf’s consecutive baskets, La Salle adapted.

They weathered a 27-point onslaught in the first period, then strategically limited the Fighting Maroons to 11 points in each subsequent quarter, evening the series at one game apiece (1-1).

Once again, UP finds itself unable to clinch the series in Game 2, marking their fourth consecutive loss in such situations.

The decisive championship match is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at the legendary Big Dome.

In the women’s division, National University disrupted the potential coronation of the University of Santo Tomas, winning 72-70 and pushing the series to a crucial Game 3. Camille Clarin’s stellar performance with 18 points and eight assists, along with Karl Pingol’s contribution of 14 points and five boards, thwarted the Tigresses’ bid to end a 17-year championship drought.

“Buhay pa kami. Buhay pa kami,” said NU coach Aris Dimaunahan. “Today’s mindset was just to stay alive, stay in the present. We don’t even think of Game 1, we don’t even think of Game 3. Our main focus is Game 2 only.”

Angel Surada scored the game’s biggest basket, a short jumper that gave the Lady Bulldogs a 72-68 cushion with 1:01 remaining.

Kent Pastrana, who was fouled in the next play and drilled both her foul line shots with 47.8 seconds left to cut UST’s deficit to 70-72, had a chance to become the hero but could not get the job done.

After Clarin uncharacteristically missed both free throws with 11.5 seconds left, the Tigresses had a shot of winning it all but Pastrana’s three-pointer from the left corner went short.

“We just had to remind ourselves why we do it, why we love the sport so much, and what’s really at stake. I think when we figured out why we’re doing it, that’s what gave us the heart to go out and execute until the last minute,” said Clarin.

In the high school boys’ basketball, Carl Manding scored the game-winning lay-up in the final 2.5 seconds as UST pulled off a narrow 82-81 win over Far Eastern University-Diliman.

The Tiger Cubs, who drew a game-high 25 points from Wacky Ludovice, survived a 37-point fourth quarter by the Baby Tamaraws to raise their record to 2-1.

Kieffer Alas posted his first triple-double of the season with 19 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists as La Salle-Zobel joined UST and NU-Nazareth at 2-1 with a 100-76 dismantling of UP Integrated School.

Manding, JB Lim, and Kurt Velasquez each scored 10 points for the Tiger Cubs.

Bonn Daja had a double-double of 18 points and 11 boards while Waki Espina (16), Charles Dimaano (14), and Andrei Pabellano (12) also logged double-digit scoring for the Junior Archers, who led by as much as 27 points.

The scores:
First Game (Women)
NU (72) – Clarin 18, Pingol 14, Fabruada 13, Surada 8, Berberabe 5, Solis 5, Canuto 4, Betanio 3, Cayabyab 2, Konateh 0, Bartolo 0.
UST (70) – Pastrana 15, Ferrer 15, Dionisio 15, Tacatac 12, Santos 4, Soriano 3, Bron 3, Maglupay 2, Villasin 1, Ly 0, Ambos 0.
Quarterscores: 21-26, 40-43, 59-57, 72-70

Second Game (Men)
DLSU (82) – Escandor 14, David 12, Austria 11, Quiambao 9, M. Phillips 9, Nonoy 8, Macalalag 7, Cortez 6, Nelle 4, B. Phillips 2, Manuel 0, Abadam 0, Policarpio 0.
UP (60) – Cansino 11, Diouf 11, Alarcon 10, Lopez 9, Cagulangan 6, Felicilda 6, Torculas 4, Abadiano 3, Belmonte 0, Torres 0, Alter 0, Pablo 0, Gonzales 0, Briones 0.
Quarterscores: 24-27, 44-38, 65-49, 82-60