'Siyempre, atin ito': Desiderio rises to the occasion anew for finals-bound UP
UP is back in the finals, thanks to Paul Desiderio’s clutch baskets in the closing minute of the do-or-die game between the Fighting Maroons and Adamson.
Screengrab from ABS-CBN S&A
'Siyempre, atin ito': Desiderio rises to the occasion anew for finals-bound UP
Cris Santos (Philstar.com) - November 28, 2018 - 8:56pm

MANILA, Philippines – Just like before, University of the Philippines found strength from its veteran shooting guard when it needed it most.

With their season on the line and their dream of returning to the UAAP finals for the first time in 32 years hanging, the Fighting Maroons turned to Paul Desiderio in crunch time to pull off an 89-87 overtime escape over No. 2 seed Adamson University.

UP is back in the finals, thanks to Desiderio’s clutch baskets in the closing minute of the do-or-die game witnessed by close to 21,000 fans at the Araneta Coliseum.

And the graduating shooting guard said he drew his own strength in that tense moment from an UP alumnus.

“Last week, pumunta ako sa office ni Boss Ronald (Mascarinas). Naikuwento niya buhay niya. Doon ako na-inspire na never give up,” said Desiderio, referring to Mascarinas’ rags-to-riches story that made him a successful businessman today.

“Sabi niya, kahit anong mangyari, kahit down ka man, huwag na huwag kang susuko dahil may magandang pupuntahan ito kung di ka susuko,” he added.

Desiderio finished with 16 points but the last five came when UP needed it most.

His three-pointer gave the Fighting Maroons an 87-85 lead with 41 seconds left in overtime.

After Jerom Lastimosa tied it for the Soaring Falcons with two free throws, 87-all, Desiderio again came up with a huge jumper over the taller Sean Manganti that proved to be the final score.

When asked what he was thinking in that play, Desiderio quipped, “Siyempre, atin ito.”

And the last finals slot is now with the Fighting Maroons, who will be facing the top seed Ateneo in the best-of-three series, which starts this Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

BASKETBALL PAUL DESIDERIO UAAP UAAP FINALS 2018
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