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Maroons escape Tigers in thriller to kick off bid for more wins

University of the Philippines' Paul Desiderio celebrates his dagger against the University of Santo Tomas. | Contributed Photo

MANILA, Philippines — “‘Yung unang objective ko talaga was to generate excitement,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol.

On Sunday at the MOA Arena, the Maroons did exactly that—surviving the UST Growling Tigers in cardiac fashion, 74-73.

With their backs against the wall, UP stayed true to their moniker. They unleashed their “Fighting” side behind Paul Desiderio’s triple late in the game and fulfilled an early wish by their coach: to become the “Winning Maroons."  

Desiderio, UP skipper’s struggled from the field, converting only five of his 19 attempts. But during a timeout, he called it the shot: “Atin ‘to. Papasok ‘to.”

 

Seconds after, the win and a bid off on the right foot. The bad shooting seemed no longer relevant.

 

Asked about his clutch shot, Desiderio, too put little though on his salty shooting clip.

"Andami ko nang tinira, mahihiya pa ba akong last shot na?” he said with a grin across his face. "Tinira ko na."

"Siyempre matagal ko nang pina-practice 'yung three-point shots, kasi laging sinasabi ni Coach Bo na practice-in ko talaga. So sinabi ko sa sarili ko na papasok 'to," he added.

"Hindi ko alam how he does that, but during the timeout he called it,” shared head coach Bo Perasol. "Our instructions was if you're open int he 3-point area, take it.”

Desiderio wounded up with 17 markers to lead the Fighting Maroons in sccoring. Christ Vito had nine while Noah Webb added seven.

UST, on the other hand, drew double-digit production from three cagers. Team captain Marvin Lee tallied 20 to pace the Growling Tigers, Steve Akomo and Jordan Sta. Ana added 15 and 11 more respectively.

The Maroons pulled out the thrilling win under the watchful eyes of Ateneo de Manila University's Tab Baldwin, who they take on next this Wednesday.

BOX SCORES

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.

QUARTER SCORES: 18-19, 42-33, 57-57, 74-73

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