UP fights on after fending off now-eliminated UST

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 06, 2016 07:02 PM
UP fights on after fending off now-eliminated UST
NOWHERE TO GO. Still with one assignment left, UP's 5-8 record is already their best in a decade.

Much like their team’s playoff hopes, the University of the Philippines crowd inside the San Juan Arena on Sunday was alive and kicking.

That was all the Maroons needed to keep fighting and eventually claim even more milestones.

Drawing contributions from up and down the roster, UP upended University of Sto. Tomas, 74-69, to still have a fighting chance for the fourth and final playoff berth in the 79th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.

With almost the entire half of the venue colored maroon, State U saw to it to not let down their faithful. “Ang pinakamagandang nangyari ngayon, the generation of excitement in the UP community. When you see them supporting you, nagbibigay ng kakaibang confidence at lakas ng loob sa mga players,” coach Bo Perasol expressed.

Backed by the boisterous Diliman community, the Maroons scored their fifth win in 13 games. Still with one assignment left, their 5-8 record is already the best since 2005.

UP’s latest win also snapped the Growling Tigers’ decade-long mastery over them. Talking about conquering Espana for the first time after 19 games, Perasol said, “’Di na nga namin iniisip yung Final Four. Mas malakas talaga yung dating na 19 games na ‘di namin natalo yung UST.”

It definitely didn’t come easy, however, as UST kept coming and coming. “There was some sort of composure and poise on our part. UST kept pushing us with runs and we were able to stop it,” Perasol said.

A 16-4 rush turned a three-point lead into a 63-48 advantage in favor of State U with eight minutes remaining. The Tigers kept clawing, however, and Jeepy Faundo brought them to as close as 66-69 with 61 ticks to go.

That was the closest they would come, however, as Paul Desiderio and Jett Manuel got together to bring home a rare fifth win to Diliman.

Desiderio wound up with an almost triple-double of 16 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists while Manuel added eight points. Their captain muffed on all but two of his 13 attempts, but his teammates only stepped up.

Five other UP players contributed at least six points much to Perasol’s delight. “Yun na nga ang importante. ‘Di kakayanin ni Paul and Jett to carry the cudgels in scoring,” he expressed.

State U shoots for a sixth win against University of the East next Sunday. Their playoff fate is out of their hands, however, as they will not be able to afford even just one more win by fourth-running and 6-5 Adamson University.

On the other hand, after last year’s runner-up finish, UST bowed out of contention with a 3-9 standing.

BOX SCORES

UP 74 – Desiderio 16, Webb 9, Manuel 8, Dario 6, Moralde 6, Gomez de Liano 6, Lao 6, Vito 5, Prado 3, Lim 3, Asilum 3, Harris 3, Romero 0, Espanola 0

UST 69 – Vigil 16, Huang 13, Faundo 10, Lee 9, Sheriff 8, Lao 5, Basibas 4, Subido 4, Afoakwah 0, Macasaet 0, Caunan 0, De Guzman 0

QUARTER SCORES: 14-12, 31-30, 53-47, 74-69

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