UNIVERSITY of the Philippines avoided a huge meltdown as it escaped National University, 89-88, on Sunday for its second straight win in the UAAP Season 81 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons came away with the win despite missing four shots at the free throw line down the stretch, surviving a solid clutch performance from the NU’s Ildefonso brothers.
Back to back three pointers by Paul Desiderio gave the Fighting Maroons a 10 point lead, 85-75 with 4:53 to go but the Shaun and Dave Ildefonso both came up big to lead a huge fight back.
A basket by Shaun and two misses from Juan Gomez de Liano gave the Bulldogs one last chance to win the game, but JV Gallego made the biggest booboo of the night as he kicked out the ball instead of taking the shot as time expired.
“The positive one in this game is we won while learning,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol.
“If I have to review the game I’ll have to be happy with 50 percent of it. Regardless of what happens if we could just shot 50 percent of our free throws that could have helped us also,” he added.
Bright Akhuetie came up with a huge double-double of 21 points and 20 rebounds as the Fighting Maroons improved to 3-3.
Juan Gomez de Liano got his usual numbers with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while brother Javi had a career-high 19 points and eight rebounds.
Dave Ildefonso led the way for the Bulldogs with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists as Joshua Sinclair played his best performance for the Bulldogs this season with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Bulldogs dropped their fifth straight game after winning the opener, falling to a tie at the cellar with University of the East.
UP 89 – Akhuetie 21, Gomez de Liano Ju 20, Gomez de Liano Ja 19, Desiderio 14, Manzo 8, Dario 6, Prado 1, Jaboneta 0, Murrell 0, Gozum 0, Lim 0.
NU 88 – Ildefonso D 20, Sinclair 13, Gallego 13, Ildefonso S 12, Gaye 11, Clemente 9, RIke 4, Diputado 3, Morido 2, Yu 1, Joson 0, Aquino 0, Malonzo 0, Tibayan 0, Galinato 0.
Quarterscores: 26-20; 47-40; 70-62; 89-88.