UAAP: Akhuetie-powered UP proves to be too much for NU
Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 03, 2018 06:37 PM
UP got a much-needed win that separated itself from the middle of the pack
ANTIPOLO – It has been an up-and-down ride, but the University of the Philippines is now in the top half of the standings in the UAAP 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament.
Bright Akhuetie was a force down low, Juan Gomez de Liano was a force all over, and the Maroons took the fight to National University before coming away with an 82-71 decision on Saturday at the Ynares Center here.
The Nigerian powerhouse had another double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds while Juan GDL yet again stuffed the stat sheet with 10 markers, nine boards, and seven assists.
It was those two who engineered the 17-2 run bridging the second and third quarters that turned a one-point lead into a 48-32 advantage.
That run was punctuated by Jun Manzo’s layup coming from a behind the back bounce pass from Juan GDL.
Still, Dave Ildefonso didn’t quit and rallied the Bulldogs to as near as 71-78 with 54 ticks to go only to see Paul Desiderio and Gelo Vito conspire to keep them at bay once and for all.
In the end, Desiderio wound up with 12 points, four rebounds, and four assists while Vito had a season-high 10 markers of his own.
Not long after they conspired, UP won its sixth out of 12 games – matching their win total from a year ago still with two games to go.
More importantly, they have broken free from a three-team logjam with Far Eastern University and University of Sto. Tomas and now stand at solo fourth. “We cannot settle here. We have a very, very important game next weekend,” head coach Bo Perasol said post-game, talking about their matchup with fellow playoff hopeful UST Saturday.
The Tamaraws could tie them, however, if they win their game against University of the East on Sunday.
On the other hand, NU has been pushed to the brink of elimination at 3-8. They will need to win out the rest of the way while also needing help from other teams just to have a shot at the Final Four.
Ildefonso paced them with 24 points, all but two coming in the second half while Joshua Sinclair also added 13 markers.
UP 82 – Akhuetie 21, Desiderio 12, Ju. Gomez de Liaño 10, Vito 10, Manzo 8, Murrell 8, Prado 6, Gozum 4, Ja. Gomez de Liaño 2, Diego 1, Tungcab 0, Jaboneta 0, Spencer 0, Lim 0.
NU 71 – D. Ildefonso 24, Sinclair 13, Gallego 9, Rike 7, S. Ildefonso 6, Salim 6, Clemente 5, Gaye 1, Diputado 0, Yu 0, Tibayan 0, Galinato 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 17-15, 40-30, 60-49, 82-71
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