UP Maroons sustain title dreams

  • Page Views 509
  • UNIVERSITY of the Philippines ended 32 long and weary years of solitude yesterday against an equally-determined Adamson University.

    The Fighting Maroons scored a breathtaking 89-87 decision in overtime in their do-or-die Final Four duel to gain a finals slot opposite defending champion Ateneo in the 81st UAAP basketball tournament before a jampacked crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

    Playing in its biggest game in three decades and in front of 20,944 fans, UP sustained its title dreams despite squandering a 16-point third quarter spread. The Maroons stepped up when it mattered most behind the likes of Diego Dario, 6-foot-8 Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie, and graduating skipper Paul Desiderio.

    A Jerom Lastimosa three-pointer gave Adamson an 84-78 lead in overtime but the Maroons refused to lie down and die and went on an 11-3 windup en route to their first finals appearance since 1986, the year they won the crown behind a team led by Benjie Paras and coached by Joe Lipa.

    Game 1 of the best-of-3 finals is set this Saturday, Dec. 1, at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    Desiderio capped UP’s fightback with a clutch jumper over the outstretched arms of Falcon Sean Manganti that pegged an 89-87 count, only 6.6 ticks left.

    Adamson had a chance to steal the win but Lastimosa’s last-gasp triple missed its mark as the Maroons’ faithful celebrated frenzy and the Adamson gallery wept in agony.

    Juan Gomez De Liano led UP with a game-high 30 points, to go with six rebounds and two assists, while Desiderio notched a double-double of 16 markers and 11 boards.

    Akhuetie, the league’s leading MVP contender, added 13 and 17 as the third-ranked Maroons completed a stunning ouster of the No. 2 and twice-to-beat Falcons.

    UP also edged Adamson 73-71 last Saturday to forge the rubber match.

    An emotional Maroons coach Bo Perasol said the team’s unlikely run to the Big Dance is a product of the hard work of his charges.

    “I made that promise (change the culture in UP). But before that, I made a promise to God that if we made it to the finals, the glory would belong to Him. So, I thank Him,” said Perasol.

    “We made it. It wasn’t without hard work, it wasn’t without tears and challenges,” he added.

    UP took a 51-42 lead at the half and led by as much as 60-44 on a Juan Gomez De Liano basket at the 5:56 mark of the third canto.

    The Falcons battled back and grabbed a 67-64 cushion going into the payoff period.

    The Maroons seemed to have the victory in the bag after taking a 78-75 buffer on a Jun Manzo runner with 10.7 seconds remaining in the fourth.

    But Lastimosa sank a left corner trey to tie the match at 78-78 and Desiderio missed a three-pointer with 2.6 seconds left.

    Jerrick Ahanmisi paced Adamson with 20 points while Lastimosa, 6-foot-6 Cameroonian reinforcement Papi Sarr, and Simon Camacho had 17, 16, and 10, respectively.

    Added Perasol: “We could have already given up. I told myself that if I cannot stand for my team, if I cannot be confident for my team, if I cannot believe in my team, who else would believe? I know that this team is going to go through it.”

    (MICHAEL JUGADO, Malaya)

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 23 April 2019
      3 hours ago No comment

      Alec Dungo, former ‘PBB’ housemate, is now a doctor

      Seven years after a life-altering stint as a “Pinoy Big Brother” housemate, Alec Duñgo is marking a new milestone as he finally turned his childhood dream of becoming a doctor into reality. Duñgo, a pharmacist, finished medical school at the University of Santo Tomas with honors — cum laude ...

    • 23 April 2019
      3 hours ago No comment

      The ‘bigger picture’ in love and relationships via the film “Last Fool Show”     

      A film inside a film is Star Cinema, N2, and EMBA’s latest movie offering that will be screening in most countries worldwide via TFC at the Movies starting April 18   QUEZON CITY, PHILIPPINES — Some people fantasize about seeing their life turned into a film, with their favorite stars ...

    • 23 April 2019
      3 hours ago No comment

      Judy Ann Santos revises gadget rules for three kids

      Is it possible for kids to be gadget-free these days? Judy Ann Santos and Ryan Agoncillo think that having devices such as laptops, tablets, and cellphones is inevitable, so instead of keeping their kids away from them, their approach is to teach them how to use it properly. In ...

    • 23 April 2019
      3 hours ago No comment

      Erik Matti promises ‘real horror’ with Sharon Cuneta in ‘Kuwaresma’

      Whenever Erik Matti makes a horror film, he says, he always looks for ways to elicit a proper “terrified” reaction from those watching. He’s not one for subtlety. So when he had a chance to direct a new one, Matti made sure that it will be something that he ...

    • 23 April 2019
      3 hours ago No comment

      Cindy Kurleto teaches daughter to love her Pinay features

      Beauty, according to Cindy Kurleto, shines best when you feel complete.Talking to PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) last March, she said of people in general, “They might be physically attractive, they might have all the physical attributes, but because of their own worry or their own stress of their own life you ...

    %d bloggers like this: