UP heads to first UAAP finals stint in 32 years, knocks out Adamson
— INQUIRER Sports (@INQUIRERSports) November 28, 2018
History has been written and it was marked with maroon ink.
University of the Philippines upended Adamson University, 89-87, in a classic overtime battle Wednesday to advance to finals of the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament for the first time in 32 years.
In what can easily the best game of the season, the Fighting Maroons and the Soaring Falcons fought to the death but UP, which trailed by six early in OT, managed to show the guts that have carried them all the way here.
Down 84-78 in extra after an Adamson spurt, UP slowly clawed its way to the lead with Bright Akhuiete tying the game at 84 and the graduating Paul Desiderio scoring five straight points to seal the monumental victory.
Desiderio drilled the game-winning jumper with 6.6 seconds left and all Adamson could muster in the end was a Jerom Lastimosa three that struck the left side of the rim.
It is the first finals appearance for the Fighting Maroons, who have spent years as a cellar-dweller until recently, since they won the title in 1986.
UP was in control for most of the game, putting up double digits leads in the first half before Juan Gomez De Liaño gave the Fighting Maroons their biggest lead, 58-44, midway through the third.
But the no. 2 seeded Adamson, which had a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four, didn’t go down without a fight, wrestling the lead away at the end of the third.
Lastimosa was able to send the game to overtime with a three-pointer from the left wing with 2.6 seconds left that tied it at 78.
Gomez De Liaño finished a career-high 30 points with six rebounds while Desiderio had 16 points, on 4-of-20 shooting, with 11 rebounds and four steals.
Jerrick Ahanmisi led the Soaring Falcons with 20 points while Lastimosa had 17 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
UP will face defending champion Ateneo, which disposed of Far Eastern University in the other Final Four matchup, in the best-of-three finals starting December 1 at Mall of Asia Arena.
Post-game with the UP Fighting Maroons after their 89-87 win over Adamson in the #UAAPSeason81 Final Four.
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, November 28, 2018
For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.