UP Fighting Maroons' Carl Tamayo.

UP Fighting Maroons’ Carl Tamayo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net

University of Philippines ironed out its penchant for starting out flat. The defending champions should now find ways to maintain their new-found confidence.

“We got what we wanted. We started out strong unlike in the first two games, but we weren’t able to sustain it,’’ said UP assistant coach Christian Luanzon after the Fighting Maroons weathered Far Eastern’s fierce fightback to prevail, 73-67, in UAAP men’s basketball tournament Saturday night.


It was a clear departure from their come-from-behind victories over the La Salle Green Archers and the Adamson Falcons where they both fell by wide margins early and redeemed themselves.

This time, the Fighting Maroons came firing out of the gates, building a 14-point advantage early before the Tamaraws slowly erased the deficit.


“We have to work on being consistent in all four quarters. This is what coach (Goldwyn Monteverde) wants. To be able to start strong and consistently maintain it,’’ said Luanzon.

Carl Tamayo found his range in a key stretch, scoring half of his 16 points in the fourth, while Terrence Fortea knocked down all of his five threes and finished with a career high 17 points in the unbeaten Fighting Maroons’ third straight win.

“We still have to work on maintaining a big lead. FEU suddenly came back. The good thing about it was we were able to handle the pressure pretty well,’’ said Tamayo.

Tamayo drilled a mid-range jumper in the closing minutes over Anonuevo and did a similar act in their next possession on the corner, providing the Maroons the separation they needed to drop FEU to 0-3.

Ximone Sandagon rose to the challenge against UP’s big frontline and powered his way to 20 points for the Tamaraws, who pulled down 22 offensive rebounds that kept them in the thick of the fight.

‘‘We went toe to toe with the defending champions. If we keep playing this way, fighting this way, the victories will eventually come,’’ said FEU coach Olsen Racela.

In the other game, Adamson University finally got over the hump as Lenda Douanga and Vince Magbuhos delivered in a 74-61 victory over University of the East.

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