UP keeps fighting as Desiderio knocks out NU

UP keeps fighting as Desiderio knocks out NU
FIGHTING CHANCE. Paul Desiderio and UP are the number one fans of Adamson - for this day, at least.

With the University of the Philippines as close as they have ever been to the playoffs in recent memory, there was nobody else but Paul Desiderio who would be pushing them there.

Desiderio was a man on a mission from start to finish and scored 30 points to shoot the Fighting Maroons over National University, 106-81, on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum.

Now, State U will hope that Far Eastern University loses to Adamson University in the ongoing game to have a shot at the Final Four of the UAAP 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament. “I’m really proud with how they played this game. Their mindset is they’re not willing to go to vacation,” a proud head coach Bo Perasol said post-game.

The two teams, both at 5-8 coming into the contest, were fighting for the right to remain in contention.

That determination was very much evident in the Desiderio who had 11 points in his team’s big 34-point opening salvo.

Behind their captain, UP raced to an 8-5 start and then a 58-41 advantage at the half.

By then, they counted three players in double-digits including Desiderio with 21 as well as Gomez de Liano brothers Juan and Javi with 13 and 11, respectively.

The King Maroon kept hot in the third and added nine more points, including a booming three to end the quarter.

His team had a massive 84-60 lead at that point and would not look back all the way to a 6-8 finish to the elimination round.

Five players wound up in double-digits with Juan GDL having 22 points on top of 13 rebounds, four assists, and one steal while Javi GDL had his own 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.

Ibrahim Ouattara also added 12 points and 13 rebounds while Jun Manzo chipped in 14 points, five assists, and three steals.

Without a doubt, it was a total team effort for State U as even Andrew Harris, Rob Ricafort, and Paolo Romero contributed two points. All three are graduating players.

“Sabi ko kay Paolo, ibibigay ko sa kanilang apat yung panalo,” Desiderio expressed.

UP’s win, however, will not mean anything if the 6-7 Tamaraws manage to upend third-seed Adamson University in the ongoing game.

For the Bulldogs, Issa Gaye showed the way with 25 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks.

Their campaign comes to a close, however, with a 5-9 standing. Team captain J-Jay Alejandro punctuated his fantastic farewell year with 16 points, eight assists, four rebounds, and two blocks in this one.

Co-captain and fellow graduating player Matt Salem had seven points and seven rebounds.

BOX SCORES

UP 106 – Desiderio 30, Gomez de Liano Ju 22, Gomez de Liano Ja 17, Manzo 14, Ouattara 12, Webb 3, Lim 2, Harris 2, Ricafort 2, Romero 2, Prado 0, Jaboneta 0

NU 81 – Gaye 25, Alejandro 16, Joson 7, Salem 7, Tibayan 7, Mosqueda 4, Bartlett 4, Diputado 3, Cauilan 3, Aquino 3, Morido 2, Yu 0, Abatayo 0, Lastimosa 0, Flores 0, Rangel 0

QUARTER SCORES: 34-21, 58-45, 84-60, 106-81

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