In a thrilling show of prowess and tenacity, the University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons Men’s Basketball Team has clinched the state university’s first-ever FilOil-EcoOil Preseason Cup Championship. They defied the odds by breaking the undefeated streak of the formidable De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, securing a hard-earned 87-76 victory.
This triumphant win on June 21, 2023, is the Maroons’ second preseason title of the year, following their impressive performance in the BallOut Sports Inter-Collegiate Champions Challenge in April. Both wins bear testament to their strong standing in the nation’s leading collegiate leagues: UAAP, NCAA, NAASCU, and UCBL.
The Final Game: Battle of the Powerhouses
Led by Coach Goldwin Monteverde, the Maroons began the game with unyielding force, catching the undefeated Green Archers off guard. Despite DLSU’s tenacious counterattacks, the Maroons’ consistent, high-pressure play led to their ultimate victory.
Rookies Mark Belmonte (awarded Finals MVP) and Francis Lopez, alongside seasoned veterans JD Cagulangan, CJ Cansino, Malick Diouf (named Mythical 5), and Harold Alarcon (awarded tournament MVP, Mythical 5), made significant contributions to the Maroons’ successful campaign, creating a balance of fresh energy and experienced skill that DLSU couldn’t withstand.
The Maroons’ Path to Glory
Here’s a recap of the teams UP battled on their path to the championship:
- Elimination Round Victories: UP def. FEU (91-75), CEU (91-7), FAITH (109-56), Ateneo (95-70), NU (72-65), St. Clare (67-61), and UE (102-81).
- Elimination Round Defeats: Adamson def. UP (62-53), DLSU def. UP (90-83).
- Quarterfinals: UP defeated Lyceum (86-66).
- Semifinals: UP defeated Perpetual (104-69).
- Finals: UP defeated DLSU (87-76).
Despite facing two defeats during the elimination round, the Maroons displayed exceptional resilience, turning the tables in the crucial games and becoming the undisputed champions of the tournament.
The Maroons, now gearing up for the upcoming PinoyLiga Cup quarterfinals against the San Beda Red Lions on June 23, and UAAP Season 86, aim to ride on this winning wave. Their spectacular performance has set the bar high, and they’re ready to scale greater heights. A repeat of their historic UAAP Championship win from Season 84 is firmly in their crosshairs.
As the UP Fighting Maroons continue their journey, the former underdog team’s tenacity and talent promise thrilling games in the coming seasons. Stay tuned for more breathtaking basketball as these top-tier players vie for more titles.
SEND CONGRATULATIONS in the comments below to the UP Fighting Maroons!
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