PAUL Desiderio buried the game-winning triple with 1.4 seconds to play to lift University of the Philippines to a 74-73 win over University of Sto. Tomas on Sunday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jeepy Faundo missed a desperate triple to clinch the win for UP. UP made up for a crucial mistake when Gelo Vito fouled Marvin Lee with five seconds to play, giving the UST guard two free throws and the lead, 73-71.
“Unang objective ko talaga when I took over was to generate excitement kasi talagang walang ka-buhay buhay ang UP community sa pagbigay ng tsansa sa basketball,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.
“What a way to get that objective again, ’yung generate excitement sa UP community with that last second shot by Paul," Perasol said.
Desiderio finished with 17 points on only 6-of-20 shooting from the field including 2-of-11 from threes but none bigger than the one he took in the final seconds.
Off several screens, Desiderio received a pass from Jun Manzo, and needed to take the triple over UST's Zach Huang to complete the game-winning play.
"He called it. Sabi niya papasok ito," said Perasol.
It was a sorry loss for the Growling Tigers, who led, 70-68, on two free throws by Vaughn Soriano after trailing by as many as 11 points.
Desiderio actually began his heroics following Soriano’s free throws, although he failed to complete a three-point play, leaving the match tied at 70.
Lee had a game-high 20 points, while Steve Akomo added 15 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks in his UAAP debut before fouling out.
UP 74 — Desiderio 17, Vito 9, Webb 7, Ju. Gomez De Liano 7, Manzo 6, Ja. Gomez De Liano 6, Ouattara 4, Lim 4, Prado 4, Dario 4, Lao 4, Romero 2, Harris 0.
UST 73 — Lee 20, Akomo 15, Sta. Ana 11, Soriano 8, Huang 6, Garcia 5, Faundo 4, Arana 2, De Guzman 2, Basibas 0, Caunan 0, Kwawukuwmey 0, Macasaet 0, Romero 0.
Quarterscores: 18-19; 42-33; 57-57; 74-73.