By Camille Cutler
UP Fighting Maroons def. NU Bulldogs 80-77
Who impressed: It was great to see Juan Gomez de Liano (11 points, 11 rebounds, six assists) produce well again! He’s slowly getting his groove again on offense and that’s a huge boost for UP. The chemistry between him and Kobe Paras has been building up too.
What happened: UP had control for most of the game, even leading by 13 points at one point. But the Bulldogs remained gritty and tried its best to cut down the lead of the Fighting Maroons during the fourth quarter. It could have gone either way for both teams, but some costly errors by NU and clutch execution by UP made the difference.
What to look forward to: For UP, the path is clear to getting the second seed. Win one of their last two games for the elimination round and they can get that coveted twice to beat with zero complications. There will continue to be doubters about their ability to dominate, but at this point you can only focus on the positives. Improvement will come.
For NU, this has been a very tough season. More than the heartbreaks and one-point losses, it’s the inconsistency which has driven people mad. It’s a long offseason ahead for the Bulldogs with plenty of questions in need of answering.
FEU Tamaraws def. Adamson Soaring Falcons 63-60
Who impressed: It was a confusing affair between FEU and Adamson, but the most impressive players in this game were the foreign student athletes (FSAs), Lenda Douanga (10 points, 22 rebounds, two blocks) and Pat Tchuente (Four points, 16 rebounds, two blocks). Both bigs’ offense will always be sour points for critics, but their effectiveness of defense cannot be doubted.
What happened: It was a defensive slugfest between these two teams. Early on, FEU had control but Adamson found ways to bounce back during the second half. But sadly, Adamson’s comeback attempt was all for naught as FEU held on with the victory.
What to look forward to: For FEU, who would have thought? After a shaky season, they’ve figured things out to establish themselves as a Final Four team. Their defense has been their anchor and they’ve worked off that to fuel the rest of their game.
For Adamson, they’re probably the most disappointing team so far this season. They have plenty of questions which need answering by the offseason. Maybe they can start with this: who can step up with creating next season to help Jerrick Ahanmisi’s shooting woes?