MANILA, Philippines – After struggling in the Finals, Zavier Lucero regained his scoring streak as he helped the University of the Philippines beat game 1 of the UAAP Season 84 Men’s Basketball Finals that mattered most.
The Filipino-American missed all four of his shots in the first half but managed UP to beat defending champion Ateneo, 81-74, and win game 1 of the final. best on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Lucero’s shot was missing in the semi-final series against La Salle, shooting 3/17 in two games. But in his first UAAP Finals, the 22-year-old went above and beyond chance, scoring seven straight points in the final two minutes for the Fighting Maroons before James Spencer three clutches to force overtime.
“It certainly feels great to see a pair get through the game,” said Lucero, who also scored a triple-clutch in extra time and finished 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The 6-foot-6 striker, who was the top 2 statistical leader in the first round, admits his shooting slum is part of the game.
That’s why he focuses on defense and other things he can do because he has faith in his teammates who can be responsible for scoring goals.
“I have also had worse matches in the past. I’ve been playing this game for a long time, I know that basketball will be like that sometimes,” he said. “As long as I can try to do other things, it’s not all about putting the basketball in the ring. We have a lot of players who can score goals. ”
After taking to the top of the UAAP title since 1986, Lucero credited their big Game 1 win to his teammates, who played hard and performed superbly defensively against Ateneo regardless. once invincible.
“We know how good Ateneo is offensively, so as a team we really have to lock in and play together in defence. Carl (Tamayo) did a great job (Ange) Kouame, and all of our boys did a great job trying to communicate and play through whatever we were going through and just play hard, “I said. “I’m happy. We showed the last game with the heart this team has, so I’m glad we carried on.”
Lucero and the Fighting Maroons take the crown and end the Blue Eagles’ three-season reign in Game 2 on Wednesday at 6pm
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