Photo from Jhang Dalanon.

RESULTS80 

UP nips Adamson in OT thriller, heads back to UAAP Finals after 32 years

by Niel Victor Masoy, November 29, 2018 12:00pm

After 32 long years, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons is back in the UAAP Finals.

This, after the Diliman-based squad outlasted the Adamson University Soaring Falcons in overtime, 89-87, on Wednesday in the UAAP season 81 men’s basketball Final Four at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

UP blew a 16-point lead in the regulation and overcame a six-point deficit in overtime to set up a ‘Battle of Katipunan’ best-of-three Finals clash against the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles starting on Saturday.

Down by six points, 84-78, following a Jerom Lastimosa triple with 2:41 left in overtime, the Maroons clawed their way back into the game starting with a Diego Dario jumper.

Then, Juan Gomez de Liaño scored a bucket before Bright Akhuetie tipped in Juan’s miss in UP’s next offensive play to tie the game at 84-apiece with 1:09 remaining.

Jonathan Espeleta, who subbed in for the cramping Jerrick Ahanmisi, split his charities and gave Adamson the lead back, 85-84.

Paul Desiderio came to the rescue for the Maroons as he buried a right wing triple off an assist by JD Tungcab to push UP ahead anew, 87-85, with 41 seconds left. Jerom Lastimosa, however, tied the game for the Falcons with his two free throws, 87-87, with 27 seconds remaining.

Desiderio, then, attacked Manganti into a one-on-one play and drained a game-winning clutch jumper to cap off an 11-3 finishing kick by UP with 6.5 ticks left.

Lastimosa had one last chance to win the game for Adamson but he missed his three-point attempt before the UP crowd celebrated at the Big Dome.

Juan Gomez de Liaño topscored for the Maroons with a career-best 30 points on top of six rebounds and two assists. Desiderio backstopped him with 16 points 11 rebounds and four steals. This season’s MVP Akhuetie added 13 points and 17 huge rebounds for UP.

Lastimosa led the Falcons with 17 points, seven boards, and five assists as Jerrick Ahanmisi scored 20 points but was unable to finish the game after succumbing to cramps in overtime. Papi Sarr chipped in 16 points and 15 rebounds for Adamson.

The Fighting Maroons were leading for the most of the game and even built their biggest lead of 16 points, 60-44, following a basket by Juan Gomez de Liaño at the 5:56 mark of the third quarter.

The Falcons, though, came to life and put forth a 23-4 run capped by a buzzer-beating layup by Lastimosa that gave Adamson a 67-64 cushion heading into the final canto.

It was a tight game from that point on but UP found themselves ahead 78-75 after a basket by Jun Manzo over Sarr with 10 seconds left in regulation. Lastimosa, however, sent the game into overtime with a triple off the bank with 2.6 left before Desiderio missed his potential game-winning trey.

The Falcons opened up the overtime with a 6-0 run capped off by a Lastimosa triple at the 2:41 mark to make it an 84-78 game before the Maroons unleashed an 11-3 surge punctuated by the game-winning basket by Desiderio.

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