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UP outlasts NU in clutch time to clinch Final Four berth

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UP still had to earn their victory.

The Fighting Maroons survived another heart-wrenching duel in an 80-77 escape against NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday October 23.

Jun Manzo, Kobe Paras, and Bright Akhuetie carried UP’s offense in the late stretches of the game.

Paras tried to drift away UP with his pull-up triple with 3:02 mark, 77-70, but Dave Ildefonso answered with a three of his own, 73-77.

JV Gallego then scored a lay-up basket after two sorry misses down the line, 75-77 with less than a minute remaining.

Manzo capitalized on John Lloyd Clemente’s missed mid-range attempt in the next possession by hitting both free shots.

Although the Cebuano guard only splitted his charity in another free throw chance, Sean Ildefonso missed his game-tying triple at the final buzzer.

“We are happy for this but we need to be better when we go deeper into the playoffs,” said UP coach Bo Perasol.

Still, the Fighting Maroons are already assured of a Final Four spot with their eighth win out of their 12 games played this season.

Paras led UP’s balance attack with 19 points, six assists, and four rebounds while Bright Akhuetie posted a double-double of 16 markers and 14 boards.

Jun Manzo maintained his consistency with 14 points, while Juan Gomez De Liaño flirted with triple-double with his 11-point, 11 rebound, and six-assist performance.

NU continues its collapse at the bottom of the standings with a record of 2-10.

Dave Ildefonso paced NU with 24 points while JV Gallego tallied career-high 20 markers.

The Scores

UP 80 – Paras 19, Akhuetie 16, Manzo 14, Ju. Gomez de Liano 11, Rivero 8, Webb 5, Ja. Gomez de Liano 4, Prado 3, Gozum 0, Jaboneta 0, Murrell 0, Tungcab 0.

NU 77 – D. Ildefonso 24, Gallego 20, Oczon 12, S. Ildefonso 10, Gaye 6, Joson 2, Minerva 2, Galinato 1, Clemente 0, Diputado 0, Malonzo 0, Mangayao 0, Rangel 0, Yu 0.

Quarters Scores 13-11, 32-25, 56-51, 80-77.