ALVIN Pasaol took over in the endgame as University of the East defeated University of the Philippines, 73-64, on Sunday in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Pasaol scored 32 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in another solid outing for UE. His three-pointer with 2:49 left in the fourth quarter opened a 68-58 lead for the Warriors but left the prodigious forward sprawled on the floor due to cramps.
That 10-point cushion was enough for the Red Warriors to improve to 3-7 - with all of their wins coming in the team's last four games - and stay in the hunt for a Final Four spot.
As it is, UE has already matched its winning total from last year with still four games left in its elims schedule.
The Maroons slipped to 4-6, one game back of fourth placer Far Eastern University (5-5) and now tied for fifth with National University - just a game ahead of UE, which continued to impress since Pasaol hit 49 points in a loss to La Salle in the first round.
But more than the offense, UE coach Derrick Pumaren was prouder of the Warriors' defense, specially on UP star Paul Desiderio.
"I think we did a great job defensively on three guys that we needed to contain, Desiderio, (Jun) Manzo, and (Ibra) Ouattara," said Pumaren.
Desiderio was limited to eight points on 3-of-18 shooting from the field while Manzo only had seven points on a 3-of-11 clip. Ouattara was held to two points and fouled out early in the fourth.
Pasaol hit a three-pointer and hit three more free throws after being fouled while attempting a three, giving UE a 55-47 cushion with one minute gone in the final canto.
UP was able to pull within four points, but UE answered with a Mark Maloles and Pasaol three for a 68-58 lead.
With Desiderio, Manzo, and Ouattara struggling, rookie Juan Gomez de Liano picked up the cudgels for UP with 22 points while brother Javier had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
However, the Maroons have now lost for the fifth time in their last six outings.
UE 73 - Pasaol 32, Olayon 11, Derige 9, Manalang 7, Maloles 5, Varilla 4, Acuno 3, Bartolome 2, Conner 0, Gagate 0.
UP 64 - Ju. Gomez de Liano 22, Ja. Gomez de Liano 17, Desiderio 8, Manzo 7, Vito 4, Romero 4, Ouattara 2, Lim 0, Webb 0, Ricafort 0, Jaboneta 0.
Quarterscores: 21-13, 36-28, 48-47, 73-64.