Maroons squeak past Bulldogs to boost UAAP semis hopes
UP's Kobe Paras soars for a lay-up.
Maroons squeak past Bulldogs to boost UAAP semis hopes
( - October 23, 2019 - 1:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — University of the Philippines secured at least a playoff in the Final Four with an 80-77 escape over National University in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Jun Manzo came alive in the second half, where he poured 12 of his 14 points and lead the Fighting Maroons to back-to-back victories, hiking their record to 8-4.

UP can secure the semifinals spot if either FEU, which is facing Adamson as of posting time, or La Salle, taking on UST later in the day, lose their respective games.

"The expectations are a little higher than that. Parang dapat lang na nandoon tayo," said coach Bo Perasol. "But we have to count our blessings. We can’t go to the highest point of the competition if we can’t get to the next level."

Kobe Paras finished with 19 points, six assists, four rebounds and one block, with his 3-pointer with 3:02 remaining pushing the Fighting Maroons ahead, 77-70.

But the Bulldogs kept on scraping, cutting the lead down to two, 77-75, and still had a chance to tie the game up had John Lloyd Clemente converted on his left wing jumper. But he missed terribly on his shot, leading to Manzo going 3-of-4 from the line with 13 seconds to play.

The door remained open for NU in the clutch, but Shaun Ildefonso botched his potential game-tying trey at the buzzer.

Bright Akhuetie poured 16 points, 12 rebounds, two assists, and two steals, while Juan Gomez de Liano also nabbed 11 points, 11 rebounds, and six dimes in the win.

JV Gallego racked a career-best 20 points, five rebounds, and three assists to compliment Dave Ildefonso's 24 points, six boards, six assists, and three steals.

NU stayed at the cellar with its 2-10 card.

The scores:

UP 80 – Paras 19, Akhuetie 16, Manzo 14, Ju. Gomez de Liano 11, Rivero 8, Webb 5, Ja. Gomez de Liano 4, Prado 3, Gozum 0, Jaboneta 0, Murrell 0, Tungcab 0.

NU 77 – D. Ildefonso 24, Gallego 20, Oczon 12, S. Ildefonso 10, Gaye 6, Joson 2, Minerva 2, Galinato 1, Clemente 0, Diputado 0, Malonzo 0, Mangayao 0, Rangel 0, Yu 0.

Quarterscores: 13-11, 32-25, 56-51, 80-77.

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