UP Fighting Maroons finally won seven games after fourteen years – that was 2004, with Marvin Cruz.
Now, the UP Fighting Maroons do not want to let it all go for naught as they aim to close their eliminations round campaign with a victory against DLSU Green Archers, a team they beat in the first round. It won’t be an easy task though as the Archers will be back for vengeance and will possibly be fielding their much-talked about center, Taane Samuel in their last two games.
With this, the Diliman ballers have a fighting chance to make it at the Final Four for the first time in two decades.
In this game vs UST, the veterans of the team took charge as Bright Akhuetie came up with a double-double, 25 points, 18 rebounds and King Maroon Paul Desiderio dropped 19 points, 8 rebounds as they dominated the UST Growling Tigers, 83-69 at the Araneta Coliseum.
State U did everything they could as their total team effort paved way to a 22-9 run in the third quarter, which gave them the 76-59 advantage.
Janjan Jaboneta had his best game yet this season after getting 9 points, most of which were scored in the final quarter (5 rebs, 2 stls).
As per Paul Desiderio, “Sobrang saya kasi, yun nga, one step closer sa dream namin mag Final Four. Hopefully makuha namin. Kumbaga gift ko na para kay Coach Bo at sa comminity itong last playing year ko!”
Desiderio is playing his last year in collegiate basketball under third-year mentor Perasol, who had brought the team to wonders in his headship in UP. Coming off with just one win years ago, Perasol got the commitment of Jett Manuel to play his last year and took a 5-9 season a couple of years back. Desiderio, with the help of Jun Manzo and the acquisition of Javi Gomez de Liano and Juan Gomez de Liano improved their chances last season, but they were still unable to make it to Final 4 last year.
Coach Bo Perasol did not want to be overconfident, saying that they need to shrug off the 7-6 standing: “We still need that one win on Wednesday. We cannot overthink on this because there is a much more crucial game on Wednesday.”
With their win earlier, UP is now at solo fourth, eliminating UST from contention.
UP hopes to keep their Final Four dreams alive as they take on DLSU on Wednesday.
UP 83 – Akhuetie 25, Desiderio 19, Ju. Gomez de Liaño 11, Jaboneta 9, Murell 6, Manzo 5, Prado 3, Vito 3, Ja. Gomez de Liaño 2, Lim 0, Tungcab 0, Spencer 0, Española 0, Gozum 0, Longa 0.
UST 69 – Lee 26, Subido 22, Bataller 7, Mahinay 4, Marcos 3, Huang 2, Cansino 2, Caunan 2, Zamora 1, Agustin 0, Bonleon 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 19-22, 42-38, 63-54, 83-69