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UP slip past NU’s late scare

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The UP Fighting Maroons survived a wild sequence down the crunch time against NU Bulldogs, 89-88, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum on Sunday, October 7.

The Ildefonso brothers scored 5 straight baskets with less than 30 seconds remaining to cut the deficit by just a point, 89-88.

NU had the chance to steal the game with 7.6 seconds on the clock after Jun Manzo and Javi Gomez De Liaño both failed to convert their four free shots, but JV Gallego made a kick-out pass instead of attempting a game-winning shot.

“The positive way of saying it is we won while learning. I’d rather have that than losing and learning,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol.

Bright Akhuetie posted 21 points and 20 rebounds for UP.

Juan Gomez De Liaño registered 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists, while his elder brother Javi had career-high 19 markers and eight boards.

UP scored their second straight victory of the season, while also improving their record at 3-3.

On the other hand, Dave Ildefonso powered Bulldogs with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists on a losing effort.

NU suffered their fifth consecutive losses after winning their first match in the season-opener.