Sindihan na iyan! Bonfire in UP as Maroons end losing skid

Carlo Pamintuan

Ready the firewood for the Fighting Maroons.

After 27 straight losses in the UAAP, the University of the Philippines finally tasted sweet victory once again after a 77-64 drubbing of the Adamson University Falcons Saturday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena, paving the way for a celebratory bonfire at the UP Sunken Garden on Saturday night.

UP team manager Dan Palami had previously announced that there would be a bonfire if the Maroons won.

And win they did. Still without suspended head coach Rey Madrid, the Maroons pounced on the Falcons who had a tough time getting buckets. With their offense stagnant, Adamson’s defense was not that much better as they allowed two Maroons to get their career games.

Mikee Reyes had 28 points on 10 of 21 shooting from the field while adding five rebounds and three assists. JR Gallarza on the other hand had 24 points on 8 of 12 shooting with six rebounds, two assists and three steals.

Don Trollano carried the Falcons with 24 points and nine rebounds while Jansen Rios had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The rest of the Falcons only chipped in a total of 20 points on an atrocious 7 of 31 shooting from the field.

UP's last win came on August 19, 2012, when the Maroons beat the UE Red Warriors 63-48.

The Maroons grabbed a 19-13 lead after the first 10 minutes of action and never looked back.

Reyes and Gallarza then took the center stage as they rained down triples on the Falcons to establish a 40-32 UP lead at the half.

Gallarza remained hot to start the second half as he nailed a three to give UP a 45-32 lead. Reyes added five points quickly after that to build a whopping 50-32 advantage. Henry Asilum added a basket to complete a 12-0 run for UP and a 20-point lead.

The floodgates opened for the Maroons as Reyes connected with another triple for a 58-34 UP lead.

The Maroons were already in celebratory mode when the Falcons unleashed a 9-0 run to cut down UP’s lead to 10 points at 70-60 with still 3:01 left in the game clock. The Maroons suffered through some nervous moments as the Falcons put up three-point attempts but Adamson came up empty.

Gallarza then put the game away for UP with a triple which sent the crowd into a frenzy.

The Main Men: Reyes and Gallarza’s joint offensive outburst in first half gave the Maroons a huge advantage. The two combined for 52 points to give UP their first win in 28 tries.

Honorable Mentions: The most consistent of the Maroons, Kyles Lao, also had 10 points, six rebounds, and four assists in the contest. The other honorable mention is the boisterous UP crowd which urged their boys to get the win. They cheered like it was a championship match, even shouting ‘”Bonfire! Bonfire!” when their Maroons built a huge lead.

Game Turning Point: The Falcons gave the Maroons one last scare in the game as a 9-0 run cut UP’s lead down to 10 points. However, Gallarza nailed a triple to put the game away for good.

He Said It:

Mikee Reyes: This is my first UAAP win since 2009. As pathetic as it sounds, masarap! We wanted to win this game for a lot of people. It meant a lot to Coach Rey and others.

The scores:

UP 77: Reyes 28, Gallarza 24, Lao 10, Juruena 4, Asilum 4, Gingerich 2, Moralde 2, Lim 2, Amar 1.

Adamson 64: Trollano 24, Rios 20, Monteclaro 5, Nalos 4, Villanueva 3, Inigo 3, Ochea 2, Baytan 2, Polican 1.
Quarters: 17-13, 40-32, 64-46, 77-64