The UP Fighting Maroons just dodged a bullet.
With nine seconds left on the clock, Marvin Lee raced down the court and pulled up for a three. The shot looked good, it was in line, but it unfortunately rimmed out as the time expired.
UP was able to hold for the 71-69 victory over the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum to snap their three-game losing streak.
“Every time we go up against UST, it’s always going to be classic for us,” said a relieved Bo Perasol.
Janjan Jaboneta led the Fighting Maroons with 12 points, on an incredible 4-for-4 shooting from downtown. Jun Manzo returned from his right ankle injury and provided 11 points. Paul Desidero had a poor shooting game but he still managed to get 10 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Lee knocked down a booming triple earlier off a sweet dish by Jorem Soriano to make it a one-point game with 11 seconds left on the clock. UST was forced to foul and Manzo trooped to the line with 9.2 seconds remaining. The point guard made the first, but lucked out on the second. UST got the rebound which eventually led to the Lee desperation shot.
“I don’t think that we will be able to out-rebound the line-up of UST. True enough, we’re almost out-rebounded by 20,” explained Perasol.
The Tigers owned the rebounding battle, 61-40, but couldn’t capitalize because of their 23 turnovers. Lee led the Tigers with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Soriano chipped in with 14 points and seven boards.
“This is just too difficult for us because we just wanted to get another win after the three losses we had,” stressed Perasol. After winning over the De La Salle Green Archers, Perasol and his team closed the first round with three straight defeats. The Fighting Maroons are hopeful that this win over the Tigers can get their groove back.
“This is something that can perk us up, make us believe again that we can still do this. Just imagine what would have had happened if we lost that game, it was a close game, [it] could have been the third close game that we had,” shared Perasol. “We’re able to make a stop in the last possession. We’re just happy about this, all of us.”
UP improves to a 4-4 record while the Tigers continue to look for answers as they hold a league-worst 0-8 slate.
UP 71 – Jaboneta 12, Manzo 11, Desiderio 10, Ju. Gomez de Liano 9, Ouattara 9, Lim 6, Vito 6, Ja. Gomez de Liano 4, Romero 2, Prado 2, Ricafort 0, Lao 0, Dario 0.
UST 69 – Lee 17, Soriano 14, Sta. Ana 13, Akomo 7, Basibas 5, Macasaet 5, Romero 4, Huang 2, Faundo 2, De Guzman 0, Caunan 0, Kwawukumey 0, Garcia 0.
Quarters: 15-17, 40-32, 61-55, 71-69.