PAUL Desiderio scored 16 of his career-high 28 points in a pivotal third period to lift University of the Philippines to an 84-71 win over University of the East on Sunday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Fighting Maroons limited the Red Warriors to only seven points in the third, bouncing back from a huge loss to Ateneo and improving their mark to 2-1.
It took a while before the Maroons found their rhythm, though, needing to fight back from an early 14- point deficit.
"Going into this game, I was kinda worried about the state of mind that we have after that very bad loss against Ateneo. We tried to emphasize that we have to let go of whatever is bothering our minds," said UP coach Bo Perasol.
"We are just happy to get through this game against a tough opening by UE. We were able to bounce back despite being outplayed and outhustled in the first minutes of the game," Perasol added.
Ibrahim Ouattara was an epitome of hustle for the Maroons after the Mali import finished with 14 points, 18 rebounds, and two blocks.
Clark Derige had 21 points and nine rebounds but the Red Warriors remained on a slide as they dropped to 0-3.
UP 84 — Desiderio 28, Ouattara 14, Manzo 10, Ja. Gomez de Liano 9, Ju. Gomez de Liano 7, Prado 7, Lim 4, Lao 3, Webb 2, Dario 0.
UE 71 — Derige 21, Maloles 16, Pasaol 12, Olayon 11, Manalang 8, Cullar 3, Varilla 0, Bartolome 0, Acuno 0, Abanto 0, Armenion 0, Conner 0, Cruz 0, Gagate 0.
Quarterscores: 18-27; 38-42; 64-49; 84-71.