Desiderio trey leads Maroons’ first season win, 74-73
◢ John Reczon Calay
Fighting Maroons captain ball Paul Desiderio silenced the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers after firing a snappy trey in the last seconds of the game, bringing UP’s first win, 74-73, in the men’s basketball tournament of the University Athletic Association (UAAP) Season 80 held today at the Mall of Asia Arena.
UP was at the verge of losing, with UST’s two-point lead, 71-73, by the last 5.3 seconds of the game.
After a forced Maroon timeout, the captain ball assured “Atin ‘to, papasok ‘to!” in the huddle which in return shooting the most crucial triple of the game — only the second successful three-pointer in his six attempts.
“Ang dami ko nang itinira, mahihiya pa ba ako eh last shot ko na?” Desiderio said as he sums up with a 30 percent field goal percentage.
UP had a slow 9-4 start in the first quarter as UST’s Justin Arana delivered a solid drive, forcing them to call for an early timeout. Bench players Javi and Juan Gomez de Liaño and Jaso Prado narrowed the gap and sealed the first canto with a one-point UST lead, 18-19.
Back-to-back buckets from Desiderio and Diego Dario gave UP its biggest lead in the game, 40-29, at the second quarter.
All the while, Tiger point guard Marvin Lee dished the ball to import Steve Akomo for two slam jams, tying the game at 49, trembling Maroons until the end of the third quarter, 57-57.
UP’s prized recruit Ibrahim Outarra was fouled out in the last 51 seconds of the game.
Desiderio also led the Maroon scoreboard with 17 points and nine boards. Gelo Vito followed with nine points and six rebounds.
Lee spearheaded the streak with 20 markers and three boards together with Akomo with a double-double 15 points and 14 rebounds.
The UAAP Board of Trustees recently allowed Outtara and Akomo to play in this year’s league after settling down their issues of staying in the university they are playing for a minimum of two years.
After a jumpstart win for the 80th season of the UAAP, Maroons will face-off against Katipunan neighbor Ateneo De Manila University, 4PM Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. ###
QUARTER-SCORES: 18-19, 42-33, 57-57, 74-73
UP 74: Desiderio 17, Vito, 9, Juan Gomez de Liaño 7, Webb 7, Javi Gomez de Liaño 6, Manzo 6, Lao 4, Dario 4, Ouattara 4, Lim 4, Prado 4, Romero 2
UST 73: Lee 20, Akomo 15, Sta. Ana 11, Soriano 8, Huang 6, Garcia 5, Faundo 4, De Guzman 2, Arana 2 ■
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