Fighting Maroons escape Bulldogs

| Written by Jo. Florendo B. Lontoc

Kobe Paras on his way to being UP’s highest pointer once again. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


The UP Fighting Maroons gained enough lead in the first half to buffer itself from an NU Bulldogs barrage in the second, managing an 80-77 win in their UAAP second round match-up on October 23 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. UP inched closer to the Final Four as it solidified its second-place ranking after the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Kobe Paras, Bright Akhuetie, Jun Manzo, and Juan Gomez de Liaño all scored in double digits: 19, 16, 14, and 11, but were collectively eclipsed by NU’s 24, 20, 12, and 10 courtesy of Dave Ildefonso, JV Gallego, Migs Oczon, and Shaun Ildefonso, respectively.


Jun Manzo’s fades away sideways. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Kobe Paras shoots from the inside. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Although UP proved to have the more rounded team,  with Ricci Rivero, Noah Webb, Javi Gomez de Llano, and Jerson Prado chipping in 8, 5, 4, and 3, respectively; as against the rest of the Bulldogs who only managed to add 11 points to the team score.

UP’s biggest lead came early in the second quarter with a three-pointer by Juan Gomez de Liaño bringing UP’s score up to 26 over NU’s 12.


From the audience, cheers for the Fighting Maroons. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


A Pep Squad flyer in a half-time performance. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Bo Perasol and UP assistant coaches huddle with the team. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


The Bulldogs prevailed in the third quarter. Oczon exploded with three straight threes, followed by Dave Ildefonso’s steal and shoot combo plus another basket. Ildefonso tied the game at 56 with another three-point shot early in the fourth quarter.

UP responded with two treys from Manzo and inside baskets from Akhuetie, Javi Gomez de Liaño, and Rivero, bringing UP up by seven, 74-67.


Team Captain Noah Webb does a lay-up. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Bright Akhuetie makes a basket. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


But the Bulldogs bit back harder. Gallego sank two baskets and Dave Ildefonso shot a three and a charity to make eight points that kept NU alive despite another Maroon trey from Paras. NU was only down by three with less than a minute left, 75-77.


Javi Gomez de Liaño delivers the ball to the hoop. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Ricci Rivero shoots the ball from the backboard. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


The last 15 seconds saw alternating trips to the line. Manzo was first and went two for two. Then it was Shaun Ildefonso, who also made both charities. And it was back to Manzo again, who only sank one of two to bring the score to 80-77, with less than 10 seconds left. Gallego brought the ball to the NU court, where John Lloyd Clemente and Shaun Ildefonso were both positioned beyond the arc, but the latter just managed to bounce the ball off the rim.


Kobe Paras makes a shot from beyond the arc. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Shaun Ildefonso and James Spencer, and the rest of line-up of the two schools show sportsmanship at the end of the game. Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Coach Bo Perasol: “For me, we just have to align ourselves, not because we’re lacking in cohesion or chemistry, but because… mabilis makahabol din sa amin. We need to address that.” Kobe Paras: “To be able to stay in the number two spot, we have to go all out in our last two games.” UP is going up against the DLSU Green Archers and the Ateneo Blue Eagles. Jun Manzo: “Masaya kami sa panalo ngayon pero ‘yung goal kasi namin ay pumasok sa Final Four and makuha uli ang kampyonato this season.” Photo by Jun Madrid, UP MPRO


Video by KIM Quilinguing, UP Media and Public Relations Office