Juan Gomez de Liano finally came alive in the UAAP 82 Men's Basketball Tournament, but it was Bright Akhuetie who carried the University of the Philippines to a gutsy 83-82 overtime decision against Adamson University, Sunday at MOA Arena.
The Fighting Maroons were down by seven with 2:22 remaining in the extra period until the reigning and defending MVP made his presence felt with his four free throws bookending an 8-0 run that eventually ended as a bounce back win.
Akhuetie wound up with an 18-point, 18-rebound double-double and his heroics were only flanked by Kobe Paras and Jun Manzo who willed in a short stab and a layup, respectively, in between those four free throws.
Manzo wound up with four points while Paras had 20 markers on top of six rebounds and two blocks in his league debut.
They wouldn't have had that chance, however, if Javi Gomez de Liano didn't finish off a setup by Paras late in regulation.
That triple tied the tally at 73-all and ultimately forced overtime.
There, State U saw the Soaring Falcons go up, 82-75, thanks to rookie AP Manlapaz.
They kept coming, however, and put their opponents inside a pressure cooker, leading to three straight turnovers from Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jerom Lastimosa.
At the other end, UP followed Akhuetie's lead back into the win column now at 2-1.
Juan GDL was also a big part of that, turning in his best game of the season with 12 points, five rebounds, four assists, and two steals while kuya Javi had three markers and three boards to help their side triumph over Adamson for the third time in a row dating back to last season's semifinals.
The roller-coaster ride continued for the Soaring Falcons, meanwhile, as Ahanmisi and Lastimosa's late gaffes wasted Val Chauca's 21-point and Manlapaz's 17-marker performances.
Lastimosa and Ahanmisi merged for 20 points in 7-of-19 shooting as well as 10 turnovers to see their squad drop to 2-2.
UP 83 - Paras 20, Akhuetie 18, Ju. Gomez de Liano 12, Murrell 6, Rivero 6, Spencer 6, Webb 6, Manzo 4, Ja. Gomez de Liano 3, Tungcab 2, Gob 0, Jaboneta 0, Mantilla 0, Prado 0.
ADAMSON 82 - Chauca 21, Manlapaz 17, Douanga 14, Lastimosa 13, Ahanmisi 7, Magbuhos 4, Camacho 2, Flowers 2, Mojica 2, Fermin 0, Yerro 0, Zaldivar 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 18-20, 25-41, 52-50, 73-73, 83-82.
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