UP Maroons sustain title dreams

  • Page Views 2712
  • 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

    • 14 October 2021
      7 days ago No comment

      3 Steps to getting your BC Vaccine Card

      Related

    • 14 October 2021
      7 days ago No comment

      Maria Ressa’s Nobel Peace Prize is an international Rebuke of the Duterte Regime

      The Malaya Movement in Canada congratulates Maria Ressa as co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize. In its announcement, the Nobel Committee cited Ms. Ressa’s efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace. Ms Ressa …[is] receiving the Peace Prize for [her] ...

    • 14 October 2021
      7 days ago No comment

      Fil-Cans unite, launch Vancouver, BC 4 LENI 2022

      As the Philippine presidential election draws closer and closer, groups are getting together to support the candidate they feel must become the next president of the country. Filipino-Canadians from all over British Columbia’s Lower Mainland gathered together at the King George Grill Hub in Surrey to gather support for ...

    • 07 October 2021
      2 weeks ago No comment

      The Miracle Wedding of the Year

      Many of the most great love stories are tragic ones. On this extraordinary pandemic times and on what they went through the couple Laura and Brian you’ll expect it to end with the same way. But to everyone’s joy, it didn’t have the tragic ending like the romance of ...

    • 07 October 2021
      2 weeks ago No comment

      Jane de Leon excited and quite nervous  to meet director Chito Roño

      I hope to be able to meet his expectations of me,” said Jane de Leon, lead star of “Darna: The TV Series,” her reaction to the news that highly acclaimed director Chito Roño would be officially taking the helm in the much-awaited TV adaptation of the country’s iconic superheroine. ...

    %d bloggers like this: