UP sends out statement at expense of erstwhile undefeated FEU

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TAKEDOWN. Paul Desiderio and UP put the first blemish on the record of FEU.

It all seemed like the same old story for the University of the Philippines on Wednesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

Not in Paul Desiderio’s book, however.

Burying back-to-back triples in the last 44 seconds, the incoming fourth-year forward finished the Fighting Maroons’ fightback against powerhouse Far Eastern University which eventually ended as a 71-68 decision.

“I think this is one of the best games we’ve had this year. I’m happy we were able to do it against a strong program,” a more than satisfied coach Bo Perasol said as his wards improved to 4-1 while also giving the Tamaraws their first taste of defeat in the 2017 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.

State U had an eight-point lead early in the third quarter until Axel Inigo rallied the FEU troops.

Behind Inigo, the Tamaraws rushed to a seven-point lead inside the last three minutes and still a 68-63 advantage with 47 ticks to go.

It was at that point that Desiderio rose and launched a triple from the top of the key that touched nothing but net.

Following a defensive stop, UP again put the ball in the hands of its team captain. There, he warded off the defense of RJ Ramirez before burying another trey from the corner for a 69-68 lead in their favor.

With 11.9 seconds left on the clock, FEU still had a chance to take the lead and take the game, but Arvin Tolentino’s attempt only grazed the rim.

Seconds later, Jun Manzo’s layup put the finishing touches on the Fighting Maroons’ big-time win. “What was important was we did not lose our focus when we were down,” Perasol expressed.

Desiderio wound up with 12 points, including what proved to be the game-winner. “All game long, we were trying to encourage Paul because he was missing a lot in the beginning. That three-point shot in the end, that was just him,” Perasol said.

Before those back-to-back triples, he had missed all five of his shots from deep.

Manzo contributed 13 points of his own to go along with six rebounds and four assists while Ibrahim Quattara had a 12-point, 12-rebound double-double.

For the Tamaraws, Tolentino topped the scoring column with 12 points. Unable to stop Desiderio in the endgame, however, they suffered their first setback in five games.

BOX SCORES

UP 71 – Manzo 13, Desiderio 12, Quattara 12, Lao 9, Dario 7, Gomez de Liano Ja 7, Webb 5, Ricafort 2, Lim 2, Prado 2, Harris 0, Romero 0, Vito 0

FEU 68 – Tolentino 12, Inigo 10, Bienes 9, Orizu 7, Ramirez 6, Nunag 6, Escoto 6, Tuffin 5, Comboy 2, Ebona 2, Bayquin 2, Parker 1, Trinidad 0

QUARTER SCORES: 18-20, 38-32, 50-53, 71-68

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