UP Maroons sustain title dreams

  • Page Views 2484
  • 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

    • Nathan Longchallon
      18 September 2020
      5 days ago No comment

      Missing Man in Burnaby: Nathan Longchallon, 26

      The Burnaby RCMP is requesting the public’s assistance in locating 26-year-old Nathan Longchallon. Nathan was last seen walking north bound on Patterson Avenue near Victory Street in Burnaby at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Nathan is described as 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a slender build, ...

    • 17 September 2020
      6 days ago No comment

      B.C. election looms, while chance of federal election lessens

      B.C.’s next provincial election is scheduled to happen on October 16, 2021. But it could take place earlier if the B.C. NDP government of Premier John Horgan decides to call an election earlier. Or if the Horgan government loses the confidence of the legislative assembly. By many indications, Horgan ...

    • 17 September 2020
      6 days ago No comment

      Dr. Theresa Tam’s update on COVID-19 

      Ottawa, ON – Public Health Agency of Canada In lieu of an in-person update to the media, Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, issued the following statement: “There have been 138,803 cases of COVID-19 in Canada, including 9,188 deaths. 88% of people have now recovered. Labs across ...

    • 17 September 2020
      6 days ago No comment

      Prime Minister announces next steps for Safe Restart Agreement

      As we move into the fall and the world continues to deal with the impacts of COVID-19, the Government of Canada remains focused on keeping Canadians safe and healthy, while continuing to ensure they have the supports needed during this global health and economic crisis. The Prime Minister, Justin ...

    • 17 September 2020
      6 days ago No comment

      Amal Clooney urges PH to protect press freedom, honor international commitments

      International human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin-Clooney on Tuesday urged the Philippine government to protect the free press and honor its international commitments on human rights. Speaking before Philippine business leaders in an online forum, Clooney said, “if you want to have a functioning democracy, protect the press. To protect ...

    %d bloggers like this: