The University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons lived up to their name by successfully staging a comeback from 16 points down in 3rd period to pull off a 78-72 win over the hapless Gilas Cadets in the 2018 Chooks-to-Go Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup, Tuesday night at the Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Jun Manzo and Juan Gomez De Liaño led the charge for the State University with 22 points apiece.
Gomez De Liaño also had 8 rebounds and 4 assists while Manzo dropped 18 in the pivotal 2nd half as the two were instrumental in the fightback that eventually led to a tied game at 65 with only 5:30 left in the contest.
Manzo connected on a triple to give UP the upper hand, 70-69 before Bright Akhuetie and Jerson Prado scored on crucial possessions to give the Fighting Maroons a more comfortable 76-89 lead with less than a minute remaining on the clock.
Akhuetie finished 16 points, 13 rebounds and 2 blocks for UP which picked up its 2nd win in 5 outings.
Arvin Tolentino led the Cadets with 14 points while Isaac Go and Ricci Rivero chipped in 12 and 9 points respectively.
The loss dropped Gilas to 1-4 and placed the national team in danger of not making it past the elimination round.
UP 78 — Ju. Gomez de Liaño 22, Manzo 22, Akhuetie 16, Ja. Gomez de Liaño 6, Vito 3, Lim 2, Murrell 2, Tungcab 2, Gozum 1, Dario 0, Jaboneta 0, Longa 0.
Gilas Cadets 72 — A. Tolentino 14, Go 12, R. Rivero 9, Paras 8, Tamayo 7, V. Tolentino 6, Tuffin 5, Mocon 4, P. Rivero 4, Alejandro 3, Ambohot 0.
Quarterscores: 16-18, 27-41, 53-58, 78-72.