JUN Manzo sank a go-ahead triple with 54.4 seconds left in the fourth as the shorthanded University of the Philippines moved to the quarterfinals with a 59-56 victory over National University in the Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup on Wednesday.
Manzo's heroics gave the Fighting Maroons a place in the next round after finishing in fourth place in Group B with a 5-3 win-loss record over the Bulldogs (4-4).
UP claimed the quarterfinal spot for the first time after eight years in the do-or-die match without Paul Desiderio (family reasons), Diego Dario (back spasms), and Juan Gomez de Liano (Nike 3-on-3 abroad).
"It's a big win for us in a sense that NU is a strong program," said UP coach Bo Perasol. "They have very good players and an excellent coaching staff. We were able to grind it out against them."
In the absence of Desiderio, Noah Webb picked up the slack on offense with 17 points and five rebounds for the Maroons, who will take on Group A top-seed San Beda in the knockout quarterfinal round.
"I asked them truthfully, ’Do you really think that we can win this game even if we don't have our top three scorers?’ And when they said yes, I truly felt that," said Perasol.
Dave Yu finished with 16 points, hitting three of his four triples in the fourth quarter, that propelled NU to a 54-49 lead. A basket by J-Jay Alejandro made it 56-52, but NU went scoreless from there.
Manzo finished with seven points but five came in that telling UP run. He made a deuce before Ibrahim Quattara tied it with a lay-up with 1:28 left in the fourth.
UP 59 - Webb 17, Vito 8, Lim 7, Manzo 7, Quattara 5, Ja. Gomez De Liano 5, Lao 4, Prado 3, Jaboneta 3, Harris 0.
NU 56 - Yu 16, Morido 8, Salem 8, Alejandro 6, Gaye 5, Bartlett 4, Aquino 4, Abatayo 3, Mosqueda 2, Diputado 0, Tibayan 0, Cauilan 0, Rangel 0, Flores 0, Sistoza 0.
Quarters: 15-9, 29-21, 43-43, 59-56.