UP Maroons sustain title dreams

  • Page Views 2684
  • 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

    • 29 July 2021
      1 day ago No comment

      With multiple medals, Tokyo 2020 an Olympic banner year for Philippines

      The Philippines will finish with multiple medals in the ongoing Olympics. This means that the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will represent a banner year for the country. The Philippine Daily Inquirer observed that this will be the first time since the Los Angeles 1932 Games that the Philippines will win ...

    • 22 July 2021
      1 week ago No comment

      Lolit Solis hints at Kris Aquino’s possible run in 2022

      Will Kris Aquino run in the national elections in 2022? This was the question of veteran entertainment journalist Lolit Solis who promised to vote for Kris should she decide to run in the national elections next year. But Lolit advised Kris not to run for mayor in Quezon City ...

    • 22 July 2021
      1 week ago No comment

      Philippines administers 15.6 million COVID-19 shots

      The Philippines has administered 15.6 million doses against the COVID-19 virus. Harry Roque, spokesperson of President Rodrigo Duterte, shared this number in a media briefing Wednesday (July 21). Of the 15.6 million does administered by the government, Roque said 10,585,261 million persons got their first dose. As well, 5,031,301 ...

    • 17 July 2021
      2 weeks ago No comment

      First Nations peoples condemn tweet on Church burnings

      At a press conference in Vancouver, Pentecostal assistant minister Jenn Allan-Riley, a 60s scoop survivor whose mother attended residential school, called for the wave of church arsons to stop. She adds that “Burning down churches is not in solidarity with us Indigenous people. As I said, we do not ...

    • 17 July 2021
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Paki-Ayos: A New Service for Filipinos in Canada

      Paki-Ayos Services Inc. will do errands for you in the Philippines Do you need something done in the Philippines, but air fare, accommodations, and pasalubong cost too much for you to go back home? A new service, Paki-Ayos, is here to help. Forget about going on a very expensive ...

    %d bloggers like this: