UP knocks out Adamson, faces Ateneo in UAAP Finals

MANILA, Philippines – The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons erased the twice-to-beat advantage of the Adamson University Soaring Falcons, 89-87 to face the defending champions, the Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

This will be UP Maroons' first UAAP Finals berth in 32 years!

UP knocks out Adamson, faces Ateneo in UAAP Finals
 Juan Gomez De Liano helped the UP Men’s Basketball Team survived Adamson Soaring Falcons and headed to the UAAP Finals versus Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles | Credit: Twitter/upmbt

It’s win-or-go-home for both squads so players were all out in order to take the last finals spot.

It didn’t take Adamson and UP that long to impress the crowd. As soon as the ball was tipped off, ballers sprawled and scrambled on the floor to fight for every possession.

AdU center Papi Sarr was the first man to be called for an unsportsmanlike foul as the game intensified.

The leading candidate for this season’s MVP race, Bright Akhuetie, muscled his way up to give his team an early lead.

Adamson fought back and narrowed the scoring gap via free throws but UP cut its opponent’s celebration short as the De Liano brothers: Juan and Javi rained it from downtown that gave the Fighting Maroons a 10-point lead, 26-16 at the end of the first.

The Falcons soared in the 2nd quarter as Sean Manganti and Jerrick Ahanmisi led the flock and managed to cut the lead down to just 3.

AdU even cut the margin to just a point but Juan Gomez De Liano heated up and launched more long distance shots to prevent the Falcons from taking the lead away from his team.

It was a three-point shootout between Juan Gomez De Liano and Jerrick Ahanmisi in the latter phase of the second but it was the U.P. guard who prevailed as he bagged 20 points and gave his gang a 51-42 advantage at the half.

De Liano continued to dominate the rainbow territory as the 2nd half started. There was no stopping the lefty shooter not even a triple team can cool down his waxing hot hands.

Ahanmisi ended Adamson’s scoring drought midway of the third with a seamless catch and shoot triple but still they were behind UP by a double-digit.

Adamson got back on track late in the 3rd period as Jerry Pingoy and Simon Camacho led the offensive assault which alarmed Coach Bo Perasol.

Coach Perasol worried more at the 3rd minute mark of the penultimate quarter as his prized ward Bright Akhuetie got hurt and Juan Gomez De Liano committed his 4th personal foul.

The Falcons capitalized on the absence of Akhuetie and Gomez De Liano on the floor as their late rally gave them a 67-64 advantage at the end of the third.

It seemed that Coach Franz Pumaren had discovered UP’s kryptonite: Take out Juan Gomez De Liano from the rotation to win the game.

Gomez De Liano re-entered the game at the 8th minute mark with 4 personal fouls along with Akhuetie to bounce back and reclaim their lead in the final chapter of their do-or-die showdown.

U.P. regained the lead 74-73 via Jun Manzo’s breakaway layup after a series of hustle plays and defensive stops.

Under a minute left in the game, the Fighting Maroons led the Soaring Falcons by just a point until Jun Manzo added 2 more and left Adamson with 10 ticks.

Adamson had the chance to tie the game at 78 and Jerome Lastimosa delivered a trey from the corner left off the inbounds that sent the game into an overtime.

Simon Camacho broke the deadlock a minute and a half after the extra period had commenced and Jerome Lastimosa cracked another triple to increased their lead, 84-78.

The Fighting Maroons made a scoring run and snatched the lead from the Soaring Falcons but Jerome Lastimosa once again leveled the game at 87.

Paul Desiderio melted the clock during UP’s possession and confidently sank a mid range jumper for a slim 89-87, 2-point edge with 6.6 left.

Adamson had an opportunity to send the game into another extra 5 minutes of ballgame or win the game but this time the Falcons ran out of luck and officially handed over the remaining UAAP Finals spot to the Fighting Maroons.

UP will now face the defending champions and season’s top-seeded team, the Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles which will start on Saturday for a best-of-three match up.

The Scores

UP 89 – Gomez de Liaño Ju. 30, Desiderio 16, Akhuetie 13, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 8, Tungcab 6, Prado 6, Dario 5, Manzo 4, Jaboneta 1, Lim 0, Vito 0.

Adamson 87 – Ahanmisi 20, Lastimosa 17, Sarr 16, Camacho 10, Pingoy 7, Manganti 6, Magbuhos V. 6, Espeleta 2, Mojica 2, Bernardo 1.

Quarters: 26-16, 51-42, 64-67, 78-78, 89-87.

— Joey Boy Capos, The Summit Express

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