Rookie Jun Manzo saves the day for quarterfinals-bound UP

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Jun 14, 2017 05:12 PM
Rookie Jun Manzo saves the day for quarterfinals-bound UP
THE WAY. Jun Manzo did the heavy lifting for UP which was playing without all of Diego Dario, Paul Desiderio, and Juan Gomez de Liano.

The University of the Philippines will be making the quarterfinals of the Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament for the first time in almost a decade.

And they have a first-year player to thank for it.

Rookie Jun Manzo’s clutch triple with 54.4 ticks to go on the clock proved to be more than enough for the undermanned Fighting Maroons for a 59-56 victory versus National University on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The two teams were disputing a playoff spot in the 2017 iteration of the preseason tournament. “This is a big win for us in the sense that NU is a strong program,” a beaming head coach Bo Perasol said post-game.

With the heroics of the recruit from Cebu, the fourth and final quarterfinals berth in Group B goes State U which improves to 5-3 while also sending NU to 4-4. “I asked them truthfully, ‘Do you really think we can win this game without our top three scorers?’ I felt it when they said, ‘Yes,’” Perasol expressed.

Indeed, Manzo took charge in the absence of Diego Dario (injury), Paul Desiderio (personal), and Juan Gomez de Liano (personal). “In the past two games, he didn’t play well. This time, I urged him to not be a passer because we don’t have a scorer in the lineup,” Perasol said.

Taking the ball at the top of the key, his crossover led to an open look which eventually ended as a swish from long-distance. “Good thing he made that crucial three-point shot,” Perasol said.

With under 20 seconds remaining, Janjan Jaboneta then denied J-Jay Alejandro’s own triple try to seal the deal on UP’s trip to the preseason tournament’s playoffs – somewhere they haven’t been to since 2009.

The Fighting Maroons’ hero wound up with seven points and five rebounds while Noah Webb surprisingly topped the scoring column with 17 points.

Fourth-seeded State U will next face the top-seed from Group A. Vying for that slot are Jose Rizal University, Lyceum of the Philippines University, and San Beda College.

On the other hand, the Bulldogs fell short of making the quarterfinals in one-time NCAA champion coach Jamike Jarin’s first year at the helm.

With J-Jay Alejandro struggling, only having six points and missing 16 of his 18 shots, Dave Wilson Yu paced NU with 16 markers.

BOX SCORES

UP 59 - Webb 17, Vito 8, Lim 7, Manzo 7, Quattara 5, Ja. Gomez De Liano 5, Lao 4, Prado 3, Jaboneta 3, Harris 0.

NU 56 - Yu 16, Morido 8, Salem 8, Alejandro 6, Gaye 5, Bartlett 4, Aquino 4, Abatayo 3, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Tibayan 0, Cauilan 0, Rangel 0, Flores 0, Sistoza 0.

QUARTER SCORES: 15-9, 29-21, 43-43, 59-56.

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