UNIVERSITY of the Philippines' Cebuano trio contributed in a big way for the Fighting Maroons in the upset win over La Salle in UAAP Season 80 on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Paul Desiderio scored a career-high 30 points in UP's win over La Salle, but he wasn't the only UP star from Cebu who made waves for the Maroons.
Jun Manzo, who like Desiderio is a product of University of Visayas, fired nine of his 17 points in the crucial fourth quarter as the Maroons kept their big lead in the game. The biggest basket made by Manzo was in the 3:17 mark of the fourth as he hit a triple that put UP ahead, 86-77.
"Napabilib ako ni Jun Manzo. Talagang makapal mukha naming dalawa," said Desiderio, referring to their no-nonsense attitude to shoot the ball in the clutch.
Another Cebuano who took the big shots in the game was unheralded Janjan Jaboneta, who had key baskets late in the match to pull off the 98-87 win.
Unknown to the public, however, it is perhaps Manzo who contributed the most in the victory, albeit off-the-court, through a tweet before the game that said "Walang imposible sa taong naniniwala."
Walang imposible sa taong naniniwala ???????? #UPFIGHT— Jun Manzo (@JkManzo13) September 23, 2017
UP coach Bo Perasol read Manzo's tweet and was impressed with the confidence of his ward.
"I may be a little bit ashamed to say this but coming into this game, my thoughts are we are going to face a powerhouse team. Iniisip mo what good can you get out of that na kung matalo ka, what are you going to gain out of any loss?"
"But then, before the game, somebody forwarded to me (Manzo's tweet), walang imposible sa taong naniniwala. Parang nahiya ako sa sarili ko na my player really believes that we can win this game including Paul (Desiderio). Alam nila na we can compete with that powerhouse La Salle team," said Perasol.
Manzo said he really felt that UP can win against La Salle on Saturday despite the tall odds.
"Maniwala lang kami na mananalo kami. Kaya nag-post ako sa Twitter para malaman ng UP community na naniniwala kami na mananalo kami," said Manzo.
Jaboneta later joined the fray for UP. The Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu product had six points, two of which on threes including one that gave the Maroons a 79-71 lead.
"Etong tatlo na 'to, lucky Cebuanos. They made the Cebuanos proud this day," said Perasol.