Aside from his game-winning triple for their first win, University of the Philippines main man Paul Desiderio has been missing the mark in the 80th Season of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament.
That all came to an end on Saturday at the Araneta Coliseum as Desiderio finally caught fire to shoot the Fighting Maroons over University of the East, 84-71.
State U’s team captain averaged 13 points in 26.3 percent shooting through the first two games and in the first half of this one, he had seven points in 1-for-4 shooting from the field.
The switch turned on for Desiderio in the third quarter, scoring 14 points in his squad’s scintillating 21-3 surge that erased a three-point deficit and erected a 64-49 advantage entering the final frame.
UP would not let go of the double-digit advantage until the final buzzer as its main man only stayed online en route to a total of 28 points in 9-for-16 shooting on top of 10 rebounds.
Without a doubt, that was more than enough to lift his team back onto the win column now at 2-1.
Desiderio’s partner-in-crime Jun Manzo chipped in 10 points of his own while Gomez de Liano brothers Javi and Juan merged for 16 markers, 10 rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Malinese reinforcement Ibrahim Outtara also added a 14-point, 18-rebound double-double in, without a doubt, his best game.
Behind that lineup, the Fighting Maroons overcame a sluggish start in the first nine minutes wherein they dug for themselves a 14-point hole, 13-27.
They were still trailing at the half until their team captain took over.
It was a much-needed win for State U which will now gear up for a matchup with undefeated De La Salle University.
Clark Derige paced the Red Warriors with 21 points to go along with nine rebounds while first-year player Mark Maloles also added 16 markers.
Without any answer for Desiderio, however, they fall to their third consecutive defeat to start the season.
UP 84 – Desiderio 28, Outtara 14, Manzo 10, Gomez de Liano Ja 9, Gomez de Liano Ju 7, Prado 7, Lim 4, Lao 3, Webb 2, Dario 0
UE 71 – Derige 21, Maloles 16, Pasaol 12, Olayon 11, Manalang 8, Cullar 3, Varilla 0, Bartolome 0, Acuno 0, Abanto 0, Armenion 0, Conner 0, Cruz 0, Gagate 0
QUARTER SCORES: 18-27, 38-42, 64-49, 84-71
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