The friendly rivalry between Paul Desiderio and Ron Dennison has been terribly one-sided.
For the last six years, the Far Eastern University Tamaraws have won 12 straight games against the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons. In their last three meetings, Dennison, a lockdown defender, has limited Desiderio, a prolific scorer, to just 12.33 points on a combined 13-for-41 clip.
But in what could be their final face-off as Dennison is in his last year, UP’s skipper made sure to at least get one against his former high scool teammate in University of Visayas.
“Mindset ko, kailangan ko siya bawian kasi lagi na lang ako dehado sa kanya,” shared the 20-year-old.
Prior to the penultimate possession of the ball game, Desiderio was ice-cold from the field, shooting at just a 5-for-22 clip. But as recent history has dictated, the Fighting Maroons can always rely on their go-to-guy in the clutch.
“Si Paul lang ang kilala ko na may kapal ng muka kahit 5-of-22 lang siya,” quipped second-year UP head coach Bo Perasol.
With the game knotted at 56-all and 1.1 ticks left on the clock, Desiderio drilled a stepback triple right in front of Dennison to seal the 59-56 win.
But aside from the game-winner, Desiderio made sure to drag Dennison on the defensive end. Averaging 12 points per contest prior to this game, UP’s combo guard limited his counterpart to just nine points on 4-for-13 shooting while committing six turnovers.
“Paul also made sure na babawi siya kay Dennison with regards to the defense,” added Perasol.
Relieved that he finally got one against his good friend, Desiderio made a quick joke about the student-athlete known as the “Desiderio Stopper”.
“Ako naman yung Dennison stopper.”