MANILA, Philippines – University of the Philippine' Juan Gomez de Liaño sustained his stellar play and even made history this time as the first UAAP player in 12 years to notch a triple-double.
Gomez de Liaño dropped 15 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists as the UP Fighting Maroons pulled away late to sweep the University of the East Red Warriors, 94-81, in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament at the FilOil Flying V Centre on Sunday, October 21.
The last UAAP player to notch a triple-double was also from UP when Marvin Cruz collected 22 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists during the Maroons' loss to Ateneo, 98-88, on August 20, 2006.
Apart from Gomez de Liaño’s milestone, top MVP candidate Bright Akhuetie showed up as well with a 28-point, 13-rebound double-double on a 12-of-14 (86%) shooting with 3 steals and 2 blocks to boot.
Veteran point guard Diego Dario also chipped in 13 markers off the UP bench with a 3-of-4 (75%) clip from downtown.
The Maroons – who also drubbed the Warriors in the first round, 87-58 – kept hold of 6th place with a 4-5 record.
After 3 tooth-and-nail quarters, the Maroons pulled away for good in the 4th with a massive 17-4 run spearheaded by 8 straight points from Dario.
"I think more than the win, it's the effort in the 2nd half that made us believe again that we can compete this season," said UP coach Bo Perasol.
"We had been very complacent, we had been, I don't know, what's the reason why we don't get to give our 100% effort every game. But that 2nd half just proved that when we get our acts together, we are able to string up something great for us."
Gomez de Liaño, who bounced back from a fever, set the record a week after playing ill against Ateneo where he just scored 5 points – far from his average of 16.3 points.
The Maroons played minus Gomez de Liaño's older brother Javi, who served a one-game suspension.
Second-running MVP candidate Alvin Pasaol led UE as usual with a game-high 30 points and 9 boards with a block. Partner-in-crime Philip Manalang flirted with a triple-double of 15 points, 9 boards and 7 assists in the loss.
The Warriors remained at last place at 1-8.
UP 94 – Akhuetie 28, Desiderio 16, Gomez de Liaño 15, Dario 13, Manzo 6, Vito 5, Jaboneta 3, Lim 3, Prado 3, Murrell 2, Longa 0, Tungcab 0, Gozum 0.
UE 81 – Pasaol 30, Manalang 15, Conner 12, Varilla 10, Beltran 4, Cullar 3, Antiporda 3, Strait 2, Bartolome 2, Acuno 0, Guion 0.
Quarters: 19-20, 41-44, 63-60, 94-81.