UP comes back from the dead to stun FEU, stay in contention

UP comes back from the dead to stun FEU, stay in contention
NOT TODAY. Make that two game-winning triples for Paul Desiderio just in this UAAP 80 Men's Basketball Tournament.

With five losses in the last six games, the University of the Philippines looked like they were already dead in the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

And with only five points for all of the third quarter on Saturday at the MOA Arena, they looked like they were already dead against Far Eastern University.

Team captain Paul Desiderio and first-year players Ibrahim Ouattara and Juan Gomez de Liano had other plans, however, and willed the Fighting Maroons from 12 points down in the last nine minutes to an unbelievable 59-56 comeback triumph over the Tamaraws.

It was yet again Desiderio who came through in the clutch, burying the game-winning triple over the outstretched arms of old foe Ron Dennison. “Paul made sure na babawi siya kay Dennison,” head coach Bo Perasol said of his main man

That main man wound up with 15 points and only made good on 6-of-23 from the field, but made good in the biggest shot in the game.

However, he wouldn’t have had that chance if not for the effort of Ouattara and Gomez de Liano who merged for 10 points and a whole lot of hustle in the 19-4 run that erased a 12-point deficit early in the final frame and erected a 56-53 State U lead with 38 ticks to go on the clock.

In the ensuing possession, Jasper Parker buried a big-time triple for FEU to tie the tally at 56-all with 32.9 seconds remaining.

After the two teams traded defensive stops, Perasol put the ball in the hands of their main man and he did nothing but come through. Asked what was going through his mind then, he answered, “’Di ko masabi e. Nasa isip ko lang na panalo o tabla.”

In the end, Ouattara posted a 10-point, 15-rebound double-double; Gomez de Liano contributed seven points, five rebounds, two steals, and one assist; and Jun Manzo chipped in seven points, five rebounds, and four assists.

The unbelievable comeback grants UP a much-needed win that raises their record to 5-6. Struggling for all of the second round of the eliminations, they are now on even ground with the Tamaraws for the fourth spot.

It looked like that wasn’t meant to be as down by seven at the half, the Tamaraws flipped the script in the third and shut down the Fighting Maroons who were only able to muster five points in 2-of-21 shooting.

At the other end, Arvin Tolentino caught fire and scored half of their 22 points in the quarter for a 47-37 lead in their favor entering the final frame.

The flame died out on FEU in the last nine minutes, however, as they lost for the third time in the last four games. Parker and Tolentino topped the scoring column for them with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

They remain in fourth-place, but also have State U beside them. Also, right behind them is 4-6 National University.

BOX SCORES

UP 59 - Desiderio 15, Ouattara 10, Manzo 7, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 7, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 6, Lim 6, Vito 5, Lao 2, Jaboneta 1, Webb 0, Prado 0, Dario 0, Ricafort 0, Battad 0, Romero 0.

FEU 56 - Parker 13, Tolentino 12, Dennison 9, Comboy 6, Trinidad 4, Cani 3, Orizu 3, Tuffin 2, Eboña 1, Iñigo 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 14-18, 32-25, 37-47, 59-56

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