Lucero: ‘By no means a doubt’ for UP en path to UAAP title

Zavier Lucero UP Fighting Maroons UAAP finals

The UP Fighting Maroons elevate the championship trophy following their dramatic Game 3 win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles within the UAAP Season 84 males’s basketball finals at Mall of Asia Arena. UAAP PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Zavier Lucero, who emerged as prime two statistical leaders within the first spherical and led University of the Philippines’ come-from-behind win in Game 1, went scoreless within the winner-take-all finals match of the UAAP Season 84 males’s basketball event.

But with the opposite guys stepping up like JD Cagulangan, who delivered the game-winning triple in extra time, UP nonetheless managed to finish a 36-year title drought with a dramatic 72-69 victory over Ateneo on Friday at Mall of Asia Arena.

Lucero might have shot 0-of-7 and solely contributed on the defensive intangibles however the Fighting Maroons’ epic championship triumph simply proved that anybody from their group can ship.

“It’s never just about us or just about me, I had zero points, Carl (Tamayo) had six. That says it right there. Six points combined and look at the guys who stepped up. We’re in a good position, 1 to 16,” mentioned the UAAP Mythical Team member after profitable a championship in his first season with UP.

When UP trailed, 69-64, to Ateneo with 1:47 remaining in extra time, the 6-foot-6 ahead believed his teammates nonetheless had a whole lot of struggle in them. After all, the Maroons’ have defied the percentages time and time once more all through the season.

“There’s never a doubt in our mind. It got a little shaky but we’ve seen miracles happen for this team before. Three games in a row. La Salle, Ateneo, and Ateneo again,” mentioned Lucero. “So our last three wins have been kind of miracle works. So, God gave us, we’ll take ’em all. God-given.”

Lucero is proud to see their group obtain their objective to win all of it, amid the pandemic and enjoying within the unprecedented UAAP bubble.

“I can’t explain it, man. We made a lot of sacrifices being here. You know, there was never a doubt in this team. We came here with one goal, and we got it done. I told the UP community, the time is coming, and here we are. So it feels good,” he mentioned.

As the Maroons relish their first title since 1986, the group will lose seniors Ricci Rivero and Noah Webb in Season 85 set in September.

With larger roles for Lucero and Co., the Filipino-American ahead has nothing to fret about taking extra essential obligations after what his group confirmed in Game 3.

“Yeah it’s gonna be time for us to step up. But we had a lot of big guys step up in big ways tonight,” he mentioned.


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