Benchwarmer Cyril Gonzales played the game of his life, exploding for seven points in the final two minutes for his team as the University of the Philippines (UP) avenged its first round loss against the National University (NU), 75-63, Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The pesky rookie, who redshirted last season, followed-up a missed dunk by Carl Tamayo, sank a triple, then scored on a fastbreak as the Fighting Maroons ended the game with a 13-0 run after being down, 62-63, down the wire.
Gonzales, who averaged 5.9 points prior, tallied 15 points off 54.5 per cent shooting.
Sophomore forward Zavier Lucero led State U with 16 points, five assists, and five triples.
“Ginawa ko lang ang mga dapat kong gawin, ang role ko, bonus na lang sa akin ang puntos,” Gonzales remarked about his performance.
“He was given that chance to see kung kaya nya. I’m really happy the way he played today,” UP head coach Goldwin Monteverde commented on his former NU Bullpup ward.
NU, uncharacteristically scoring 40 points in the first half, only afforded 23 second half points as top guns John Lloyd Clemente and Kean Baclaan had off nights while star point guard Steve Nash Enriquez afforded only two points in the second half after scoring nine earlier in the game.
He finished with 11 points while forward Michael Malonzo led the Bulldogs with 12 points and six boards.
Earlier, the Far Eastern University (FEU) won its third straight game at the expense of University Belt rival University of the East (UE), 75,68.
Xyrus Torres continued his hot scoring streak with 22 points, six triples, and five steals; LJ Gonzales tallied 14 points and eight assists; and foreign center Patrick Tchuente had a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards to lead the Tamaraws.
Nick Paranada led the Red Warriors with 21 points, six rebounds, and six assists.
UP has widened its lead in the standings with seven wins and one loss while NU drops its second straight game to be at third place at 5-3.
FEU and UE are now tied at sixth and seventh place with a 3-5 card.
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