Maroons nip Tigers on Desiderio triple; Archers escape
Finding his team trailing by two points after being in control for most of the game, Paul Desiderio’s voice resonated during University of the Philippines’ huddle with five seconds remaining.
“Atin na ‘to, pasok to (This game is ours, I’m making the shot),” the swingman told his teammates.
Desiderio made good on his promise, hitting a fallaway triple off a well-designed inbound play as the Fighting Maroons eked out a 74-73 victory over a gritty University of Santo Tomas squad in UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
“During our last timeout, he called it,” said Perasol of his prized guard, who made just one of his 10 triples before the game winner. “He told me ‘coach, we will win, I’m making the shot’ because our instruction was if you’re open at the three-point area, take it.”
Desiderio’s shot with 1.4 ticks left capped a wild finish where both teams bungled possessions.
“I was taking so many shots,” said the Cebuano guard, who made just six of his 20 shots. “Why would I shy away from taking the last shot?”
In the second game, defending champion La Salle rode the hot hands of Aljun Melecio as it turned back Far Eastern U,
95-90, in their first meeting since their infamous brawl in Davao three weeks ago.
Melecio waxed hot with 29 points, while Andrei Caracut and Kib Montalbo contributed 16 and 12 points, respectively, for the Archers who also got solid games from big men Abu Tratter and Prince Rivero in the absence of reigning MVP Ben Mbala.
Mbala is away on international duty for Cameroon in the Fiba Afrobasket.
The Archers came out aggressive, leading by as many as 23 points early on.
While it was too close for comfort, the win was just the kind of game that Perasol liked since it achieved one of his targets when he took over the team last season.
“The UP community may not care what happened during the game, but it generated excitement,” said Perasol.
The Maroons led by as many as 11 points in the second half only for the Tigers to come roaring back in the fourth period to dispel notions that they aren’t good enough to contend this season.
“A lot of people are not giving UST a chance but it can give teams a fight,” Perasol said.
UP 74 – UST 73
UP 74—Desiderio 17, Vito 9, Webb 7, Gomez de Liano Ju 7, Manzo 6, Gomez de Liano Ja 6, Ouattara 4, Lim 4, Prado 4, Dario 4, Lao 4, Romero 2, Harris 0.
UST 73—Lee 20, Akomo 15, Sta. Ana 11, Soriano 8, Huang 6, Garcia 5, Faundo 4, Arana 2, De Guzman 2, Basibas 0, Caunan 0, Kwawukumey 0, Macasaet 0, Romero 0.
Quarters: 18-19, 42-33, 57-57, 74-73
LA SALLE 95 – FEU 90
DLSU 95—Melecio 29, Caracut 16, Montalbo 12, Tratter 11, Santillan 9, Ricci Rivero 7, Baltazar 4, Go 3, Prince Rivero 2, Paraiso 2, Capacio 0.
FEU 90—Dennison 21, Comboy 13, Orizu 12, Tuffin 10, Cani 7, Tolentino 7, Parker 7, Iñigo 5, Escoto 5, Trinidad 3, Nunag 0, Ebona 0, Bienes 0.
Quarters: 29-11, 47-32, 73-54, 95-90
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