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UP takes down La Salle to finally end three-game slump

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The UP Fighting Maroons survived De La Salle Green Archers’ late rally in crunch time, 67-61, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on September 30, Sunday.

UP went on a 10-2 blast in the first three minutes of the fourth period, 47-61, until La Salle’s Aljun Melecio, Andre Caracut, and Santi Santillan scored 12 of 13 unanswered points to cut the lead by as much as one, 61-60, with 2:24 remaining.

However, Juan Gomez De Liaño would take over for UP by converting four straight baskets to give his team the edge, 65-60.

Justine Baltazar failed to make it a two possession game, as Jun Manzo would finally put the finishing touches for UP by converting three of his four shots from the free-throw area, 67-61.

“Now I think we all know that our end game does much to be desired with how we ended up the game. Then again, we can’t forget the fact that we won it,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol.

“We would have wanted to be better in the end game but then again, probably, we needed this kind of wins so that we would know how to be better.”

The Fighting Maroons finally ended their three-game losing skid, including a painful loss against Adamson last Wednesday to improve their record with 2-3.

Bright Akhuetie registered a double-double of 19 points and 19 rebounds, while Juan Gomez De Liaño added 17.

Meanwhile, La Salle’s fell down at 2-2 win-loss slate.

Baltazar provided 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Green Archers while Melecio and Santillan would score 12 apiece.