UP Fighting Maroons, fresh from a championship crown in Araw ng Davao, scored another title. This time, they outlasted UST Growling Tigers in Republica Cup 2017 Finals held at the Malolos Sports & Convention Center, April 9.
State U finished the game 100-91, after an intense match that saw Bright Akhuetie’s ejection in the game, Steve Akomo and Jordan Sta. Ana graduating from fouls. Flooded by bad calls, the boys from Katipunan toughened their pressure, which only motivated them to rally the fourth quarter with a 9-3 start, 78-73.
Combination of treys from Renzo Subido and Marvin Lee got UST as close as six points but Paul Desiderio beasted at the end minutes of the game, powering 12 markers.
With a total of 36 points, Desiderio was announced the Most Valuable Player. This is the second time this off-season that UP won the championship. Aside from Desiderio, Juan Gomez de Liano showed signs of brilliance in his 15-point outing, while steady guard Jun Manzo chipped in 10.
For the UST Growling Tigers, who ended up as arunner-ups, Marvin Lee tallied a total of 23 points, scoring from first to fourth quarter. Steve Akomo had 16 points while Renzo Subido rained the court with four treys in his 16-point outing.
Missing from the UP bench are Pio Longa, AJ Madrigal and JJ Espanola while from the UST side, usual suspect Zachy Huang is missing while Justin Arana is silent throughout the game.
UP and UST might face each other once again as they both joined the Filoil Flying V Pre-season Tournament, which will start on April 29.