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Desiderio breaks Adamson’s heart in OT as UP Maroons enter Finals after 32 years


The Golden Era has finally arrived for UP!

The Fighting Maroons scored an upset in their knockout duel against twice-to-beat Adamson Soaring Falcons, 89-87, to reach the Finals after 32 years in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Final Four round at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, on Wednesday, November 28.

Both teams were seeking history on that day, but only broke out of their misery of missing the playoffs.

40 minutes of regulation wasn’t enough to decide the winner of the matchup, as Adamson’s Jerom Lastimosa countered Jun Manzo’s crucial hook shot with a triple to extend the game into overtime, 78-all.

Lastimosa, Simon Camacho, and Sean Manganti scored Adamson’s first six points in the extra period to have a comfortable 84-78 advantage.

However, the Maroon’s stifling defense not only allowed them to reclaim the lead, but it also paved the way for Paul Desiderio to emerge in the crunch time by burying two straight jumpers to win it all for the UP community.

“We made it, but it wasn’t without any hardwork, tears, and challenges. But this team is going to fight no matter what,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol.

Juan Gomez De Liaño tallied a career-higu 30 points, to go along with six rebounds while Desiderio had 16 markers, 11 boards and four steals.

UP makes its first Finals stint since 1986 where legendary players like Benjie Paras, Ronnie Magsanoc, and Eric Altamirano won the team’s first-ever gold.

For the Adamson, they have yet to win a series in their Final Four appearances with a 0-8 card.

Jerrick Ahanmisi led the Falcons with 20 points while Lastimosa provided 17 markers, seven rebounds, and five assists.

The Fighting Maroons are all set for the Battle of Katipunan against the defending champs Ateneo Blue Eagles in the best-of-three Finals showdon, on Saturday, at the Mall of Asia Arena.