JAMES Spencer showed the way as University of the Philippines bounced back with a 68-62 victory over Centro Escolar University on Saturday in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup in San Juan.
The Fil-Aussie guard buried the game-sealing triple with 25.1 seconds left, giving the Fighting Maroons a 66-62 lead before putting the nail in the coffin with a pair of charities in the last 12.9 ticks.
Spencer finished with 11 points built, making three 3-pointers, to go with nine rebounds as UP snapped its two-game losing run and improved to 3-2 in Group A.
Jun Manzo with 17 points, six assists, three rebounds and three steals, while Bright Akhuetie corralled 13 points and seven boards for UP.
"Sometimes, you have mixed feelings with these kinds of games. You don't want it to be close but sometimes, you develop character especially with the guys we have right now," said coach Bo Perasol.
"It's important that they acquire those kinds of experiences, they find a way how to win with the changing complexion of the game, how we stop rallies, and how we'll stay composed in the end. Those things, we need to learn not only for the whole team but also for the not the usual guys."
Manzo's fourth quarter eruption allowed the Fighting Maroons to take a nine-point lead, 63-54, with 3:34 remaining, but Maodo Malick Diouf brought the Scorpions back within one, 63-62, with 1:18 left before Spencer took over and scored the last five points for UP.
The Senegalese Diouf carried CEU with 28 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, while Judel Fuentes had 13.
The Scorpions fell to an even 2-2 card in the summer tournament.
UP 68 - Manzo 17, Akhuetie 13, Spencer 11, Ja. Gomez de Liano 7, Gozum 7, Tungcab 6, Longa 3, Murrell 2, Gob 2, Webb 0, Jaboneta 0, Prado 0.
CEU 62 - Diouf 28, Fuentes 13, Uri 7, Rojas 6, Ke. Caballero 4, Chan 2, Formento 2, Diaz 0, Santos 0, Sunga 0, Lisbo 0, Guinitaran 0, Bernabe 0.
Quarterscores: 15-18; 37-28; 52-45; 68-62.