MANILA, Philippines – The UP Fighting Maroons staged another late comeback to stun the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 81-77, in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City on Sunday, October 20.
Kobe Paras and Bright Akhuetie buried key baskets in the last 85 seconds to help seal the escape as the Maroons kept hold of 2nd place with a 7-4 card
Point guard Jun Manzo – who finished with 17 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists – also played a crucial role in lifting the Maroons from a 12-point deficit, 60-72, in the last 7 minutes of the game.
"Napakaganda ng pinakita niya (He really played well), not just with his scoring but his leadership inside," said UP coach Bo Perasol of Cebuano captain Manzo.
Paras – who also unleashed a monster jam – pumped in a game-high 21 points, while Juan Gomez de Liaño fired 15 markers.
The win allowed the Maroons to stay above the 7-5 UST, while the Falcons dropped to 4-7.
Paras answered Jerom Lastimosa's tying long two with a pull-up triple, 79-76, at the 1:25 mark of the contest.
Akhuetie then sank two free throws for the 81-77 lead before Lastimosa cost Adamson the game with a late offensive foul after sticking out his leg on a three-ball attempt in their final possession.
Val Chauca paced Adamson in the sorry loss with 19 points, albeit being held to just 2 points in the second half.
UP started the 3rd quarter strong after a back-and-forth first half with back-to-back Manzo triples for the 44-42 lead.
However, the Falcons got their bearings back and responded with a 14-5 blitz capped by a crafty AP Manlapaz layup at the 4:20 mark for the 56-48 lead.
Adamson kept their distance until midway through the final frame, when UP staged a 16-2 comeback to tie take a 76-74 lead punctuated by a Manzo putback layup.
In the first round, the Maroons also narrowly escaped the Falcons, rallying to an 83-82 overtime triumph behind Paras and Akhuetie.
UP 81 – Paras 21, Manzo 17, Ju. Gomez de Liano 15, Akhuetie 12, Rivero 7, Ja. Gomez de Liano 5, Tungcab 3, Webb 1, Mantilla 0, Murrell 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0.
Adamson 77 – Chauca 19, Ahanmisi 13, Camacho 11, Lastimosa 9, Manlapaz 5, Douanga 4, Magbuhos 4, Fermin 3, Mojica 3, Sabandal 3, Yerro 3.
Quarters: 11-19, 36-37, 57-66, 81-77.