UP upsets DLSU for its biggest win in over a decade
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Sep 23, 2017 06:29 PM
IT'S A NEW DAY. UP downed DLSU by double-digits - the very same DLSU that had just easily handled three contenders in a row.
Not only did University of the Philippines give De La Salle University its first close contest in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament, the upstart contenders actually gave the champions their first taste of defeat in their title defense.
Paul Desiderio was still on fire, Jun Manzo and Jan Jaboneta were pleasant surprises, and the Fighting Maroons dropped an upset ax on the heads of the Green Archers, 98-87, on Saturday at the MOA Arena.
For State U which had been dwelling at the bottom of the league for over a decade, trumping a DLSU side favored to win back-to-back championships is its biggest win yet. “Malaking panalo ‘to,” a beaming head coach Bo Perasol said post-game.
More than that, they pulled off the upset even as reigning and defending MVP Ben Mbala posted another power performance with 34 points. “Whatever happened, we didn’t panic. We were able to get back despite the torrid shooting of Ben in the beginning,” their mentor said.
Making it all happen was Desiderio who poured in a career-high 30 points on top of six rebounds and five triples. “Naglaro lang ako,” he expressed afterward, downplaying his second straight scoring binge.
The team captain also made good on 6-of-10 triples, two of which punctuated the 10-2 run that turned a three-point deficit into a 57-52 lead in the middle of the third.
Of course, the Green Archers kept coming and Mbala’s short stab closed them to within 77-81 with 4:08 remaining.
Indeed, Manzo had the answer for UP and scored the first five points in the 7-0 counter that led to the 88-77 lead they would keep until the final buzzer.
Manzo wound up with a UAAP career-high 17 points while Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan added 10 markers apiece.
Seldom-used Jaboneta also contributed with six points off corner triples all coming in the final frame.
In all, the Fighting Maroons bombarded their opponents with a total of 16 triples – the most in the league in over a decade.
The historic win also gives State U joint possession of the second spot. Perasol reminded everybody that they haven’t won anything yet, however, in saying, “There cannot be a step backwards. If you get too emotional, nawawala yung pagiging sharp mo.”
Tying them there with a similar 3-1 slate are the defending champions. Andrei Caracut and Ricci Rivero scored 15 and 12 points, respectively, to backstop Mbala.
Aljun Melecio, still struggling with only five points in this one, was sorely missed as they suffered their first setback in the season.
UP 98 – Desiderio 30, Manzo 17, Gomez de Liano Ju 10, Gomez de Liano Ja 10, Lim 6, Ouattara 6, Jaboneta 6, Dario 5, Romero 4, Ricafort 2, Prado 2, Harris 0, Vito 0, Lao 0
DLSU 87 – Mbala 34, Caracut 15, Rivero R 12, Rivero P 9, Melecio 5, Montalbo 5, Santillan 5, Paraiso 2, Tratter 0, Go 0
QUARTER SCORES: 18-27, 47-43, 66-65, 98-87
Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo.