UAAP: Juan Gomez De Liaño bails out UP with clutch steal, triple vs La Salle
MANILA, Philippines–Juan Gomez De Liaño bucked a sprained left ankle to knock down the game’s biggest shot as University of the Philippines rallied past De La Salle, 72-71, Wednesday in UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball at Mall of Asia Arena.
With the Fighting Maroons trailing by two and playing without Bright Akhuetie, who fouled out with 40 seconds remaining, Gomez De Liaño completed a steal off Aljun Melecio’s outlet pass, before nailing a three-pointer in transition with 7.8 seconds for the game-winning basket.
Interestingly, De Liaño’s basket turned out to be the first time that UP took the lead in a game where La Salle seemed to find an answer with every fightback by the Maroons.
Gearing up for their finals rematch with Ateneo on Sunday at the close of the first round, the Maroons struggled the entire contest and fell behind by as many as 13 points.
But the Maroons once again made big plays down the stretch as they secured their fourth straight win that raised their record to 5-1.
“We’re like a chariot leaning on wild stallions, another one goes to the right, another goes to the left, another goes to the middle, but come winning time, they get their acts together,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.
Kobe Paras finished with 21 points, while Akhuetie added 17 points and 14 boards before getting called for a fifth foul on Jamie Malonzo’s lay-up attempt.
Malonzo, however, missed the two foul shots, opening the door for the Maroons to complete the comeback.
Melecio hit a triple to give the Green Archers a 70-67 lead with 2:32 remaining, but that turned out to be their last field goal as the Maroons clamped down on defense.
“A lot has to improve on our offense, but I think we are decent on defense,” said Perasol.