UNIVERSITY of the Philippines pulled off a stunning 78-76 come-from-behind win over reigning UAAP Juniors titleholders and defending champion National University to highlight the opening of the 9th PCABL (Philippine Chinese Amateur Basketball League) FREEGO Cup over the weekend at the at the Philippine Buddhacare Academy gym in Quezon City.
Trailing by 10 entering the final quarter, UP stormed back as the troika of Bryan Lina, Juan Gomez de Liano and Will Gozum combined for 23 of their last 27 points to beat their favored opponent.
Gozum finished with 22 points while de Liano and Lina added 21 and 10 points, respectively, for the Junior Maroons who were handled by assistant coach Rommel Gador in the absence of head coach Paolo Mendoza.
Equally impressive in their wins were Chiang Kai Shek College, Adamson, and Letran in the event also sponsored by Smart, Jumbo Plastic Linoleum, Hapee Toothpaste, Insular Square (Cebu), and New Pioneer Auto Supply (Cebu).
The CKS Dragons got double-digit scoring from John Galinato (23), Miguel Oczon (14) and Jonas Tibayan (12) to beat Hope Christian Highh School, 89-79, while the Letran Squires leaned on the 26-point effort of Rayniel David to beat the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws, 99-89.
Jose Antiporda scored 15 points to lead a balanced attack for Adamson to defeat Arellano University, 85-77.
Gozum also had 9 rebounds, one assist and one block to bag the Freego Best Player award – the same accolade received by Galinato, David and Antiporda for their stellar performances.