UP forward Zavier Lucero injures left knee in Game 2

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REIGNING champion University of the Philippines (UP) is praying for the best results with regards to Zavier Lucero’s left knee injury as the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball finals heads to a winner-take-all Game 3 next Monday.

The versatile forward already underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test yesterday morning, UP Fighting Maroons program director Bo Perasol told The STAR.

“We’re still waiting for the advice of our medical team,” said Mr. Perasol as UP absorbed a double whammy in a 65-55 loss against Ateneo in Game 2.

Mr. Lucero, in a non-contact incident, went down hard on his own early in the 8:31 mark of the fourth quarter with UP staring a 44-59 deficit.

The Filipino-American standout grimaced in pain holding on to his left knee and had to be carried out of the court.

As mentioned by UP courtside reporter Carla Elizaga on the TV broadcast, Mr. Lucero said he heard a “crack” after his scary fall that silenced the usually wild Diliman crowd.

The 6-foot-6 Mr. Lucero finished with six points, 11 rebounds, two assists, a steal and a block in 28 minutes of action.

He served as the hero in Game 1 with 14 points, 11 rebounds and two assists as well as the two crucial blocks on Chris Koon and Ange Kouame that willed UP to a 72-66 win in Game 1.

UP, at press time, awaits Mr. Lucero’s official diagnosis as it braces for an all-out war in Game 3 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Monday in a tough title defense. — John Bryan Ulanday