University of the Philippines guard Paul Desiderio shoots a jumper against University of Santo Tomas in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.net
Paul Desiderio hit the game-winning triple and University of the Philippines escaped University of Santo Tomas, 74-73, in the UAAP Season 80 men's basketball tournament Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Desiderio drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds left as the Fighting Maroons salvaged the victory to start their campaign on an emphatic note.
Marvin Lee almost gave UST the victory as he calmly hit a couple of free throws that gave the Growling Tigers a 73-71 lead with 5.3 seconds remaining.
"Our objective for this season, exactly, is to generate excitement because the UP community is very passive when it comes to the basketball team," said Maroons head coach Bo Perasol in Filipino.
"And we got to complete that objective and what a way to generate that excitement, especially with that last-second shot. I don't know how Paul does that but during the huddle he called it, 'we're going to win, this shot will go in.'"
Desiderio was off the mark all game long, going 1-of-10 from deep before his clutch basket, but he made it when it mattered most. He finished with a team-high 17 points while also grabbing nine boards.
Lee finished with a game-high 20 points to lead UST while Steve Akomo had 15 points, 14 rebounds, and four blocks before fouling out late.
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