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Injured Zavier Lucero draws praise from UP teammates

MANILA, Philippines—Graduating forward Zavier Lucero is leaving on a high note despite University of the Philippines’ failed title retention bid in the UAAP. Lucero, who had been ruled out of Game 3 due to a torn ACL, made a surprise appearance after he was inserted by coach Goldwin Monteverde with 0.7 tenths of a second left to shoot a technical free throw off an improper bench decorum called against Ateneo for celebrating too early in the court. With the crowd cheering him on, Lucero sank the free throw in an emotional scene.

The Fighting Maroons warmed up before the game wearing shirts that had “ZAV” written on the front and Lucero’s jersey No. 22 on the back. “We’re hands down for Zav. Every game, he always gives his 100 percent. Even through pain, he played. We didn’t get what we wanted for him but I’m still so happy with my team,” UP forward Carl Tamayo said after scoring nine points and grabbing nine rebounds in a 75-68 loss to Ateneo in the deciding Game 3.

Season MVP Malick Diouf also had nothing but high praise for Lucero. “We always knew that Zavier is important for UP. Not just inside but also outside the court because he’s a good guy. As a playmaker, he’s good,” said Diouf. “For me, I got hurt when I heard what happened to him because there’s just one game left and he got injured, it’s not easy,” he added after finishing with seven points and 19 rebounds.



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