JUAN Gomez de Liaño showed no signs of slowing down in his first game back from a high fever, uncorking a historic triple-double to tow University of the Philippines to a 94-81 triumph over University of the East on Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Only coach Bo Perasol could stop the UAAP Season 80 Rookie of the Year as Gomez de Liaño came off the bench and proved to be the difference-maker, scoring 15 points, grabbing 12 rebounds, and dishing out 12 assists.
Gomez de Liaño's statline was the first triple-double in the UAAP in 12 years or since UP's Marvin Cruz registered 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in UP's 88-98 defeat to Ateneo back in August 20, 2006.
This time, though, the Fighting Maroons were the ones celebrating in the end as they snapped their two-game losing skid in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament, improving to 4-5 to tie UST at fifth place in the standings.
Bright Akhuetie remained as dominant as ever with his 28-point, 13-rebound, 2-assist, and 2-block performance.
Diego Dario also scored eight straight points early in the fourth quarter to trigger the 17-2 run for UP which turned a close 63-62 lead to a convincing 80-64 advantage with 5:45 left to play. He had 10 of his 13 points in the payoff period, as he shot 3-of-4 from downtown.
Paul Desiderio also had his best game of the season with 16 points, eight rebounds, and three assists in the big victory.
"I think more than the win, it's the effort in the second half that made us believe again that we can compete this season," said Perasol as his side shot 50-percent from the field in the second half.
Perasol himself acknowledged the roller-coaster nature of a season that was for his side, but he's happy that UP "found itself again" after the win.
"We've been very complacent. I don't know the reason why we don't get to give our 100-percent effort every game, but that second half proved that when we get our acts together, we're able to string up some victory for us," he said.
"I hope this pushes us to the next level in the coming games."
Alvin Pasaol led UE in the losing effort with 30 points, nine rebounds, two assists, a steal, and a block, while Philip Manalang also flirted with a triple-double of his own with his 15 points, nine boards, and seven assists.
The Red Warriors tasted their fourth straight defeat to drop to 1-8.
UP 94 – Akhuetie 28, Desiderio 16, Ju. Gomez de Liano 15, Dario 13, Manzo 6, Vito 5, Jaboneta 3, Lim 3, Prado 3, Murrell 2, Longa 0, Tungcab 0, Gozum 0.
UE 81 – Pasaol 30, Manalang 15, Conner 12, Varilla 10, Beltran 4, Cullar 3, Antiporda 3, Strait 2, Bartolome 2, Acuno 0, Guion 0.
Quarters: 19-20, 41-44, 63-60, 94-81.