Maroons gun for solo lead

Games Saturday:

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)

2 p.m. — UE vs Adamson

4 p.m. — UP vs FEU

Reigning champion University of the Philippines sets its sights on grabbing the solo lead when it collides with listless Far Eastern University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Fighting Maroons are fixed on shaking out of a two-way logjam at 2-0 win-loss record on top of the standings alongside Ateneo de Manila University when they clash with the Tamaraws at 4 p.m.

Tipping things off will be University of the East, which challenges Adamson University in the 2 p.m. encounter.

UP had another close call last Wednesday, needing the heroics of guard Terrence Fortea in overtime to hurdle pesky Adamson University, 87-78.

Fortea stepped up big time when he nailed back-to-back three-pointers and dished out an assist to Malick Diouf that created enough separation for the Maroons in the extra minutes.

“We really need to work on how to start strong,” UP coach Goldwin Monteverde said.

“We need to play with better energy from the start until the game ends.”

Aside from Fortea, Monteverde will again lean on his main guns Zavier Lucero, Diouf and Carl Tamayo with JD Cagulangan still out due to an injury to add more woes to the skidding Tamaraws.

FEU, for its part, is at the bottom of the standings with a 0-2 slate together with the Falcons.

The Tamaraws suffered a 66-76 shocking upset to the Red Warriors, which snapped a long 15-game losing slump dating back to 2019.

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