UP Maroons sustain title dreams

  • Page Views 1433
  • 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 August 2019
      23 hours ago No comment

      How PH won bronze in 1954 Fiba World Cup

      When the FIBA World Cup bound Philippine Basketball team flies to China for its Group D series with Italy, Serbia and Angola, coach Yeng Guiao and his boys should be additionally motivated by the sweet memory of their counterparts’ 1954 escapade in the same tournament. It was the Philippines’ ...

    • 23 August 2019
      23 hours ago No comment

      I am loved’: Bea Alonzo breaks silence on controversy

      A month after her cryptic post hinting at infidelity let loose the year’s biggest showbiz controversy thus far, Bea Alonzo broke her silence on social media Tuesday with a positive message about being loved. On Instagram, the actress shared an old photo of her as a child with her ...

    • 23 August 2019
      23 hours ago No comment

      Rody urges Pinoys: Draw inspiration from ‘Ninoy’

      PRESIDENT Duterte yesterday urged all Filipinos to do what they can to safeguard the freedoms they enjoy now while helping serve their fellow men. In his message to commemorate the death anniversary of Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the President also encouraged those in government to draw inspiration from ...

    • 23 August 2019
      23 hours ago No comment

      Coco Martin, ‘Ang Probinsyano’ co-stars honor late FPJ’s 80th birthday

      Coco Martin visited the grave of Fernando Poe, Jr. to commemorate the late icon’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, August 20.  Coco Martin visited the grave of Fernando Poe, Jr. to commemorate the late icon’s 80th birthday on Tuesday, August 20. The actor came early in the morning to pay ...

    • 23 August 2019
      23 hours ago No comment

      Piolo Pascual and son, Iñigo, Live in Vancouver!

      The Philippines’ most sought-after heartthrob, multi-awarded actor and singer is heading to Vancouver, BC!  Mabuhay Enterprise in cooperation with Backstage Ventures, Victoria Nannies and Unit Blue Media, presents “Father & Son The Canada Tour 2019” with the Philippines’ Mr Screen Idol Piolo Pascual and his multi-talented son Iñigo Pascual. Hearts ...

    %d bloggers like this: