FROM a high of hitting the game-winner against UST, University of the Philippines star Paul Desiderio was sent crashing after being shut down by a well-oiled Ateneo squad on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The veteran guard out of Cebu was limited to just nine points on a disastrous 4-18 shooting, rendering the Fighting Maroons helpless en route to a commanding 92-71 victory for the Blue Eagles in UAAP Season 80.
Desiderio was quick to credit Ateneo for coming in prepared as they had no answers to every adjustment coach Tab Baldwin and his coaching staff made in this game.
“Struggle talaga. Na-scout talaga kami. Halos lahat ng play namin, na-counter ng Ateneo. Parang wake-up call na rin sa amin to na kailangan namin bumawi,” said Desiderio.
“Mas nag-kumpyansa kami siguro. Di kami naka-focus dahil dun. Pagsikapan pa rin na makabawi kami,” he added.
Known more as an all-around player in the past years, Desiderio was visibly looking for his shots in the first two games but has been struggling with his shooting so far.
Before hitting the game winning three pointer in their 74-73 win against UST, Desiderio struggled making just five of his 19 attempts before that clutch triple.
He tried to look for his shots again this time, but he just had no answers to a disciplined Ateneo side which kept him in check all game long.
“Personally di ako nakaadjust, masyado akong nakafocus sa scoring. Siguro sa next game, playmaker na ako sa team, maga-adjust ako,” he added.
Desiderio also admitted that his injury in the preseason might be affecting him mentally but he doesn’t want to use that as an excuse.
Instead, he vows to conquer those ‘fears’ of an injury as he bared that he’s already healthy – it’s all a matter of getting his old mentality back.
“Siguro hindi na, pero nasa utak nalang e. Hindi na talaga yung katulad dati na salaksak lang ng salaksak, naiilang lang talaga. Malayo pa naman, kaya pa yan mabawi.”