UNIVERSITY of the Philippines made an early statement on its men’s championship title aspirations in the UAAP 3x3 basketball tournament yesterday at the Ayala Malls Feliz in Pasig.
Behind a killer roster of Fiba 3x3 veterans Ricci Rivero and Juan Gomez de Liaño, together with Will Gozum and Javi Gomez de Liaño, the Fighting Maroons opened their campaign with a 13-8 romp of National University, before nipping defending champion Far Eastern University, 13-11.
After Javi Gomez de Liaño made a free throw, last-minute addition Ljay Gonzales missed the game-tying two, allowing UP to escape with its second wins.
The remaining player from last year’s championship team, Wendel Comboy’s two-pointer gave the Tamaraws their first win at the expense of University of Santo Tomas, 11-9, after the 10-minute contest ended in a 9-9 standoff.
The Bulldogs rebounded from their first loss with a 9-8 squeaker of the Growling Tigers to join their victims at 1-1.
La Salle prevailed over Adamson, 15-13, to chalk up its first win.
In the women’s division. NU, behind Fiba 3x3 campaigner Jack Danielle Aninam, Ria Nabalan, Monique del Carmen and Congolese Rhena Itesi, went undefeated in three starts.
The Lady Bulldogs set in motion their back-to-back title bid with a 12-7 win over University of the East and needed a 5-0 finishing run to beat Ateneo, 13-10.
NU then scored a 14-8 win over La Salle remain unscathed.
Christine Cortizano’s late free throw gave University of the East a 7-6 win over UST to tie its victims at 1-1. The Tigresses nipped FEU, 9-8, in an earlier match.
UP edged La Salle, 6-5, in the first women’s contest.
Tournament format calls for a single-round eliminations, with the top four teams advancing to today’s knockout semifinals. The Finals, which is also a one-game affair, will also be played on the same day.