PAUL Desiderio knocked in the game-winning shot, nailing a stepback triple with 1.1 seconds to play in the fourth to lead University of the Philippines to a 59-56 win over Far Eastern University on Saturday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Desiderio’s heroics capped off a UP comeback from 12 points down in the fourth as the Fighting Maroons tied the Tamaraws for fourth spot with a 5-6 win-loss record.
It was the second game-winner of the season for Desiderio, who also saved UP from defeat with a last-gasp basket against University of Sto. Tomas in the opener.
The big win put the Fighting Maroons back in the thick of things in the Final Four race following a disappointing loss to University of the East last week.
“Malaking morale-boosting win for us,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.
“Sabi ko nga, ’yung mga struggles namin, (these are) things that we need to undergo in order for us to grow.”
Desiderio wound up with 15 points on 6 of 23 shooting.
UP fired on all cylinders in the fourth, finishing the match with a 20-7 blast.
FEU lost for the second straight time, and fourth in the last five games after giving up a 49-37 lead to begin the final period.
The Maroons also came up with a 13-0 run to overcome a 53-43 deficit. Jun Manzo capped off the run with a floater with 38 seconds to play, 56-53, to make it a three-point game only for Jasper Parker to respond with a triple to tie the match.
Ibrahim Ouattara contributed 10 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks for UP, which trailed by 10 at the end of the third after scoring just five points.
Parker had 13 points, while Arvin Tolentino scored 12 for the Tamaraws, who only had nine points in the fourth.
UP 59 – Desiderio 15, Ouattara 10, Manzo 7, Ju. Gomez de Liano 7, Ja. Gomez de Liano 6, Lim 6, Vito 5, Lao 2, Jaboneta 1, Webb 0, Prado 0, Dario 0, Ricafort 0, Battad 0, Romero 0.
FEU 56 – Parker 13, Tolentino 12, Dennison 9, Comboy 6, Trinidad 4, Orizu 3, Cani 3, Ramirez 3, Tuffin 2, Ebona 1, Inigo 0.
Quarterscores: 14-18; 32-25; 37-47; 59-56.