MANILA, Philippines — Defending UAAP champions University of the Philippines outplayed upset-aware Emilio Aguinaldo College in the final two minutes and secured a tense 70-65 victory to bolster their bid for the quarter-finals of the UCBL PG Flex Linoleum pre-season tournament last Sunday at SGS. Gymnasium in Quezon City.

The Maroons were tested to the max by the determined EAC side and needed a few lucky breaks to register their second victory in as many games, enough to secure the top of Group A on their own.

This happened after the once undefeated Jose Rizal University lost their match to the Christian University of the Philippines-Dasmariñas for bringing the wrong uniform set.

In the Group B matches, National University improved their bid for the quarter-finals by bombarding the University of Batangas, 82-59, while Centro Escolar University finally burst into the win column after two unsuccessful attempts with a 93-71 thrashing of Lyceum.

As Gilas mainstay Carl Tamayo struggled offensively, Terrence Fortea and Reyland Torres carried the scoring charge for the Maroons, scattering 15 points apiece.

The Generals threatened to produce a royal-sized upset when they rallied and retired 68-65, but Bismarck Lina restored order by calmly plunging into giveaway shots.

EAC had chances to reduce UP’s lead again, which the generals tried valiantly but failed as Ralph Robin missed his shot from a 3-point area and Nathaniel Cosejo missed two free throws .

Jhomel Ancheta led the way for the Scorpions with 18 points and 13 boards while Anjord Cabotaje and Ron Rei Tolentino had 15 and 12 points respectively.

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