Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Tiebreaker Times


Bright Akhuetie sinks game-winner as UP drags Adamson to KO game

Just three seasons ago, these two squads were at the bottom league. Fast forward to 2018, the upstart programs will figure in a win-or-go-home game with a Finals berth at stake.

After suffering numerous heartbreaks from the Adamson University Soaring Falcons over their last three encounters, Bright Akhuetie and the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons made sure to give them the same, taking a 73-71 win, Saturday evening at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

“If the heads of our players will be our gauge, I can see that they refused to lose. In the end, it’s not about winning or losing, it’s how we play the up-and-down game,” said third-year Fighting Maroons head coach Bo Perasol.

Akhuetie – who is set to become the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament Most Valuable Player – was limited to just six points on five attempts in the game, down 12.86 points from his regular season norms. Still, the 22-year-old Nigerian student-athlete delivered in the clutch.

With the game knotted at 71-all with 3.7 seconds left, Juan Gomez de Liano was able to locate Akhuetie underneath the rim. The transferee from Perpetual Help calmly sank a reverse lay-in with 2.6 ticks to spare.

“Winning against Adamson is not easy. We have a lot of things to adjust to when we get back. My guys just made the plays when it mattered. Juan made a great pass to Bright, [Paul] Desiderio made that big shot, Juan made two big free throws,” Perasol added.

Adamson had no timeouts left. Junjun Espelata’s Hail Mary heave was swatted away as the pro-UP crowd celebrated to the beat of their Pep Squad’s drums.

#ReadMore  There's nowhere to go but up for Fighting Maroons

And no one could deny them a moment that has been 21 years in the making. The last time UP won a Final Four game was back in 1997, when the Fighting Maroons stunned top-seeded FEU Tamaraws, 70-69, to force a Game 2 as well.

Safe to say, the UP crowd were on the edge of their seats for the final 10 minutes of the game. Especially as the Fighting Maroons’ 13-point lead was chopped inch by inch by the duo of Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi.

“They are a very resilient team. I kept on telling them that whatever happens, we have to go through these types of games,” Perasol remarked about Adamson.

Manganti, who has developed a reputation as the Maroon-killer, scored on back-to-back buckets to give Adamson a four-point edge with 2:18 left.

But then with the game knotted at 69-all, Desiderio scored on a tough stepback jumper over Jerom Lastimosa with 5.5 ticks left. On the other end, Janjan Jaboneta tripped Manganti, leading two free throws to knot things up for the sixth and final time.

Desiderio and Gomez de Liano led UP with 19 points each, with the former grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out four dimes as well.

Sarr paced Adamson with 23 points and nine boards, while Manganti added 15 markers.

“While the game was going on, you can’t help but hear the crowd. At the back of mind, we need to give them a game that they can be proud of,” expressed Perasol.

The sudden-death game will take place on Wednesday, November 28.

The Scores:

#ReadMore  State U survives Mapua U for maiden win

UP 73 – Desiderio 19, Gomez de Liano Ju 19, Manzo 9, Gomez de Liano Ja 9, Akhuetie 6, Prado 4, Dario 3, Jaboneta 2, Vito 2, Murrell 0, Gozum 0, Lim 0, Tungcab 0

ADU 71 – Sarr 23, Manganti 15, Ahanmisi 9, Camacho 8, Lastimosa 7, Espeleta 5, Magbuhos V 4, Pingoy 0, Mojica 0, Catapusan 0, Bernardo 0

Quarterscores: 17-16, 28-29, 54-43, 73-71

Written By

Tiebreaker Times Logo

You May Also Like


Ethan Kirkness will no longer be heading to the University of the Philippines. This as according to the father of the 6-foot-10 prospect Michael,...


A rivalry can define someone’s sporting career. When one thinks of Aljun Melecio’s rival in the UAAP, one might go for a Matt Nieto...


Franz Pumaren will no longer return to Adamson University. The decorated tactician has chosen to focus his efforts on being a councilor in Quezon...


Jake Figueroa has decided to stay with the school that has become his home over the last two years.  The reigning UAAP High School...


Two of the brightest prospects in Adamson High School have decided to stay at home. Shooter Matty Erolon and bruiser Joshua Barcelona have committed...


Another Dimaculangan is set to enter the University Athletic Association of the Philippines’ collegiate division. But it won’t be at University of Santo Tomas....


Two products of University of the Philippines have joined the already-stacked 2021 PBA Rookie Draft. Hardy floor general Jun Manzo and athletic forward David...


After his standout performance for Gilas in Manama last November, Javi Gomez de Liaño proved that he is ready for the next level. However,...