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Gutsy win over Adamson could be gateway for UP’s Finals return, says Manzo
by Niel Victor Masoy, October 21, 2019 3:17pm
University of the Philippines (UP) just hacked out a thrilling victory over Adamson University (AdU) Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.
Leading the charge for the Fighting Maroons’ fightback in the said contest was Jun Manzo, who put up 17 points, including big baskets in UP’s 21-5 finishing kick which turned a 60-72 deficit into an 81-77 triumph.
Manzo, who also notched seven boards and three assists, was emotional after the win.
He stressed how important the victory was which could ultimately propel the Fighting Maroons back to the Finals.
“Inisip ko lang na kailangan talaga naming manalo. Parang ito na ‘yung last game ko,” said Manzo as UP (7-4) regained the second spot in the team standings of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) season 82 Men's basketball tournament.
“Kasi iniisip namin ngayon kung matalo kami, baka wala na kaming tsansang maging number two. Kung ma-sweep ng Ateneo (12-0), mahihirapan na kami kasi maglalaban ‘yung three and four eh,” added Manzo, referring to a stepladder Semifinals scenario which will happen if the Blue Eagles would sweep the elimination.
“Ito yung susi para makabalik ulit kami sa Finals.”
The leader that he is, the graduating Manzo told his teammates to keep on playing until the final buzzer when they already had a four-point, 81-77 buffer following Bright Akhuetie’s two made free throws with 1:08 left in regulation.
He knew such lead was never safe, remembering when UP also held a four-point, 78-74 cushion over University of Santo Tomas (UST) with about two minutes left last Wednesday - only to allow the Growling Tigers unleashed a 10-0 finishing kick and stole the win at the Mall of Asia Arena.
“Sinabi ko lang sa kanila na ‘wag tayong mag-relax. Kasi ‘yung sa UST, mga one minute, lamang kami ng apat, nag-relax kami. So parang sayang. Inisip ko lang na dapat hindi na ulit mangyari ‘yon,” said the 5-foot-9 Cebuano guard.
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