UP Maroons get back on track but not without scare from winless UST Tigers
Ibarahim Ouattara and the Maroons even their record to 4-4. Dante Peralta

UNIVERSITY of the Philippines halted a three-game skid after beating winless University of Santo Tomas, 71-69, on Wednesday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.

The Fighting Maroons opened the second round on a high note, sweeping the season series against the Growling Tigers to improve their record to 4-4.

The Growling Tigers fell to 0-8.

Janjan Jaboneta made all his four three point shots to finish with 12 points, while Jun Manzo didn't show any sign of the ankle injury suffered in the game three days ago, scoring 11 for the Fighting Maroons.

"This is just too difficult for us because we just needed the win after the three losses that we had," said UP coach Bo Perasol.

"This is something that can at least perk us up and make us believe again that we can still do this. Just imagine what would have happened if we lost this game," Perasol said.

Jaboneta hit three triples in the third quarter to stay ahead after losing an early 13-2 lead in the match.

It was another sorry loss for the Growling Tigers, who were defeated by UP in their opening game of the season on a game-winner by Paul Desiderio.

Ibra Ouattara's putback with 1:16 left in the fourth gave the Maroons a 70-64 lead only for UP to allow the Tigers to mount a comeback, with Marvin Lee hitting a three to come to within one point, 70-69, with 11 seconds to play.

After Manzo split his two free throws, UST had a chance to steal the win but Lee missed the triple.

Lee had 17 points, while Jorem Soriano added 14 points for the Tigers, who also got 20 boards from Steve Akomo.

The scores:

UP 71 - Jaboneta 12, Manzo 11, Desiderio 10, Ouattara 9, Ju. Gomez de Liano 9, Lim 6, Vito 6, Ja. Gomez de Liano 4, Romero 2, Prado 2, Lao 0, Dario 0, Ricafort 0.

UST 69 - Lee 17, Soriano 14, Sta. Ana 13, Akomo 7, Macasaet 5, Basibas 5, Romero 4, Faundo 2, Huang 2, De Guzman 0, Garcia 0, Caunan 0, Kwawukumey 0.

Quarterscores: 15-17; 40-32; 61-55; 71-69.

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