LORD Casajeros hit a game-tying triple, then dished out a crucial assist for the go-ahead basket as University of the East avoided a monumental collapse, beating winless University of the Philippines, 76-73, on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Casajeros, playing in his final game of his college career, was involved in the final six points of the game as the Red Warriors finished their UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball campaign with an even 7-7 win-loss slate.
The Warriors swingman buried a triple that tied the game at 73, and handed a pass to Adi Santos on a pick-and-roll for a lay-up that gave the Red Warriors a 75-73 lead.
UP had a chance to salvage the game but Raul Soyud and Kyle Suarez missed their triples as Casajeros sank one of his two free throws for a three-point lead.
The Maroons were able to throw a long pass to Soyud, who failed to connect on a triple from the left wing.
It was a sorry loss for UP, which mounted a 17-2 run to take a 72-68 lead nearing the two-minute mark.
Instead, UP fell to another winless campaign, duplicating its 2007 and 2010 seasons.
UE coach Boycie Zamar said he was satisfied with their performance in his first full season with the team.
“We were one game away from a playoff, two wins away from a Final Four,” said Zamar.
The Red Warriors were already ahead, 59-43, in the third quarter and were protecting a 68-59 lead early in the fourth. But the Maroons made a huge run with Soyud hitting a lay-up and two free throws for a 72-68 advantage.
The Maroons, however, failed to score a field goal in the final two minutes of the game.
Charles Mammie had 21 points and 18 rebounds. Casajeros finished with 17 points.
Santos, Ralf Olivares, and JR Sumido also played their final game as Warriors.
UE (76) – Mammie 21, Casajeros 17, Olivares 12, Jumao-as 9, Alberto 7, Santos 6, Javier 4, Sumido 0, Pujante 0, Noble 0, Hernandez 0, Guion 0, Galanza 0.
UP (73) – Marata 22, Soyud 15, Lao 10, Suarez 6, Ligad 5, Gallarza 4, Asilum 3, Wong 2, Harris 2, Ball 2, Gingerich 1, Amar 1, Paras 0, Desiderio 0.
Quarterscores: 20-19; 44-34; 66-55; 76-73.