ROOKIE big man Carl Tamayo finally flaunted his potential with a career-best outing of 21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and three steals. — THE UAAP FB

By John Bryan Ulanday

RED-HOT University of the Philippines (UP) clamped National University (NU), 84-76, to extend its winning spree to seven consecutive games and tighten its grip of solo second place at the start of the crucial University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 84 second round at the MOA Arena on Tuesday.

Rookie big man Carl Tamayo finally flaunted his potential with a career-best outing of 21 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and three steals as the Fighting Maroons improved to 7-1 for their best start since winning their last UAAP title in 1986.

Veteran Ricci Rivero and another impressive neophyte Zavier Lucero backstopped Tamayo with 16 markers apiece for UP, which also notched its longest winning streak in the Final Four era (1993-1994).

But more than that, the Fighting Maroons stayed a stone throw’s away from three-time defending champion and undefeated leader Ateneo that dealt them their lone loss so far back in the opener, 90-81.

“We started strong in this game, which might be our best start from all of our games so far but still, we have to be consistent. We still have errors to improve on. We still have a lot of lessons to learn,” said the decorated high school coach Goldwin Monteverde, who took over from now UP program director Bo Perasol.

Buoyed by six victories in a row to close out the first round, the Fighting Maroons caged the Bulldogs early with a sizzling 23-11 start that they even ballooned to 15 points to replicate their 80-70 win in their first meeting.

John Lloyd Clemente (18), Reyland Torres (15) and Shaun Ildefonso (11) led the way for the Bulldogs, whose comeback attempt at 58-62 entering the final frame ran out of steam to fall at 4-4.

Later, Nash Racela got back at his brother Olsen as Adamson exacted vengeance on Far Eastern University (FEU) with a thrilling 64-63 win to snap its five-game losing skid.

Jerom Lastimosa sizzled with 17 markers including an assist to Matt Erolon, who drained a last-second triple as the Soaring Falcons avenged their 66-65 heartbreaker in the second round to improve at 2-6.

LJay Gonzales (20) and RJ Abarrientos (15) paced the Tams in their fifth loss in eight games to stay outside the Final Four so far.

The Scores:

First Game

UP 84 – Tamayo 21, Rivero 16, Lucero 16, Cagulangan 7, Diouf 7, Alarcon 5, Webb 5, Fortea 4, Abadiano 3, Spencer 0, Catapusan 0.

NU 76 – Clemente 18, Torres 15, Ildefonso 11, Malonzo 9, Minerva 8, Felicilda 5, Gaye 4, Joson 2, Figueroa 2, Manansala 2, Tibayan 0, Enriquez 0, Mahinay 0.

Quarterscores: 26-14, 42-35, 62-58, 84-76.

Second Game

Adamson 64 – Lastimosa 17, Manzano 14, Peromingan 9, Zaldivar 6, Sabandal 5, Erolon 5, Yerro 2, Barasi 2, Hanapi 2, Colonia 2, Magbuhos 0, Maata 0.

FEU 63 – Gonzales 20, Abarrientos 15, Ojuola 13, Torres 8, Tempra 5, Bienes 2, Alforque 0, Sleat 0, Sajonia 0, Celzo 0, Sandagon 0.

Quarterscores: 21-12, 38-34, 50-50, 64-63.