After shooting just 10-for-38 from the field in the University of the Philippines’ first two games, Paul Desiderio was able to overcome his slump, leading the Fighting Maroons to an 84-71 win over the hapless University of the East Red Warriors, Sunday afternoon at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The win is a huge bounce back victory for the now-2-1 Fighting Maroons after receiving a 21-point beat down against the Ateneo Blue Eagles last Wednesday. The Red Warriors, on the other hand, dropped to 0-3.
“Going into this game, I was kind of worried with the state of mind we had after coming out of that very bad loss against Ateneo,” said second-year UP head coach Bo Perasol. “We emphasized in practice that we had to get rid of that bad memory.”
Desiderio finished with a career-high 28 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field and 10 rebounds to lead UP. Moreover, he provided the spark for the Fighting Maroons during the third frame, outscoring UE on his own, 16-7.
“Malaking bagay talaga ang nawawala sa amin if he is not getting his regular game,” Perasol remarked about Desiderio’s third quarter that helped UP pick-up a double-digit lead. “What a time to get his game back because this was an important game for us. We are facing tough teams in the coming weeks.
“We were behind during the first half of the game. What I was worried about was that we were poor in the third quarter of the last two games,” added Perasol about his third quarter lineup that limited UE to just three field goals while forcing a bevy of turnovers. “I just have to give credit to my guys despite the fact that we were behind. I think we had a good match-up against them when we played a small line-up with Ibrahim in the center.”
Besides Desiderio, Mali-native Ibrahim Outtara also had his breakout game, scoring 14 points while hauling down 18 boards.
“We are happy that we were able to bounce back despite the fact that we are outplayed in the first minutes of the game,” furthered Perasol. “I was trying to encourage Ibrahim to be a factor for us. We understand that during the first two games, he was trying to adjust.”
The Fighting Maroons led by as much as 23 points in the contest, 77-54, after Desiderio scored his last bucket of the game with 4:55 remaining.
Four players scored in double-digits for UE with Clark Derige pacing the Red Warriors with 21 points and nine rebounds. Rookie Mark Maloles tallied 16 markers while Alvin Pasaol added 12 points despite being limited to just 13 minutes of game time.
UP looks to build a streak when it takes on the DLSU Green Archers on Saturday, September 23 at 4:00pm. UE, on the other hand, will have a week-long break to regroup itself before facing the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Sunday, September 24 at 4:00pm. Both games will be played at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
UP 84 – Desiderio 28, Outtara 14, Manzo 10, Gomez de Liano Ja 9, Gomez de Liano Ju 7, Prado 7, Lim 4, Lao 3, Webb 2, Dario 0.
UE 71 – Derige 21, Maloles 16, Pasaol 12, Olayon 11, Manalang 8, Cullar 3, Varilla 0, Bartolome 0, Acuno 0, Abanto 0, Armenion 0, Conner 0, Cruz 0, Gagate 0.
Quarterscores: 18-27, 38-42, 64-49, 84-71
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