UP vows Desiderio will be back with a vengeance in UAAP Finals Game 2

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Dec 03, 2018 01:50 PM
UP vows Desiderio will be back with a vengeance in Game 2
UP captain Paul Desiderio had one of his worst games of the season in Game 1 of the UAAP 81 Finals

Without a doubt, it was Paul Desiderio who led the University of the Philippines in their climb back up the mountain.

Wearing his heart on his sleeve, the team captain willed the Fighting Maroons to their first playoff berth in 21 years, then to their first Final Four win in more than two decades, and then, ultimately, to their first championship round since 1986.

In Game 1 of the Finals last Saturday, Desiderio continued to give his all, only to run into a wall put up specifically for him by Ateneo de Manila University.

With Thirdy Ravena, Mike Nieto, and Gian Mamuyac all taking turns on him, the graduating swingman only scored five points in 2-of-6 shooting from the field.

This, compared to his season averages before that game of 14.2 points in 38 percent shooting from the field.

He also had eight assists and six rebounds, but without a doubt, his impact was muted by the Blue Eagles’ perfect execution of their game plan.

Nonetheless, State U opted to stay positive about their skipper’s performance. “Even if Paul was off na he had five points, he also had eight assists. The defense will always be on him so he did a good job of adjusting in looking for his teammates,” graduating guard Diego Dario said.

That is exactly why they remain confident that Desiderio will do nothing but bounce back in Game 2 on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum. “Next game, you’ll see a better Paul for sure,” Dario said.

For its part, Ateneo is also bracing for a mighty rebound by UP’s heart and soul. “We expect nothing short of his 100 percent, na gagawin niya lahat nang makakaya niya para sa community and for his team,” Thirdy Ravena said.

He then continued, “As a team, we just have to be ready and we have to make sure na kung ano man bibigay niya sa amin we’re ready for it.”

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