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Maroons foil Falcons

Bright Akhuetie delivered the game winning basket with 2.6 seconds left to power University of the Philippines to a 73-71 win against the Adamson Falcons in their 81st UAAP men’s basketball semifinal duel last night at the Mall of Asia Arena n Pasay City.

Adamson's Papi Sarr tries to score against UP's Bright Akhuetie during UAAP semifinal action at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Adamson’s Papi Sarr tries to score against UP’s Bright Akhuetie during UAAP semifinal action at Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. (Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

Akhuetie, the 6-foot-8 center and soon-to-be MVP of the tournament, got the inbound pass from Juan Gomez de Liano and quickly went for a banked shot inside the shaded area against two defenders.

Adamson failed to make an attempt at the buzzer as the UP community enthusiastically celebrated the win that forced a do-or-die game against Adamson on Wednesday at the Smart Arameta Coliseum.

“It’s a play we practice all the time,” said UP mentor Bo Perasol. “We actually drilled that (Tuesday evening), and if I it right it was actually the same play alley-oop pass of Juan to Bright… in fact Bright missed that.”

“Fortunately, Bright made the shot,” added Perasol, who took over as the Maroons coach in 2016 after a previous stint with the Ateneo Blue Eagles.

It was only the second field goal for Akhuetie as he scored six points with 14 rebounds. De Liano and Paul Desiderio led the Maroons with 19 points apiece, the latter adding eight rebounds and four assists.

Desiderio, in his final season with UP, scattered 10 points in the fourth period capped with a big jumper from the left corner that gave UP a 71-69 advantage with 5.5 seconds left to play.

However, forward Sean Manganti of Adamson leveled the score at 71-all with 3.7 seconds to go off a foul by Felix Jaboneta.

Adamson center Papi Sarr led the Falcons with 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field with nine boards, while Manganti added 15 points. Jerrick Ahanmisi scored just nine points on 2-of-13 shooting.


The Scores:


UP 73 – Desiderio 19, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 9, Manzo 9, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 9, Akhuetie 6, Prado 4, Dario 3, Jaboneta 2, Vito 2, Murrell 0, Gozum 0, Lim 0, Tungcab 0.

ADAMSON 71 – Sarr 23, Manganti 15, Ahanmisi 9, Camacho 8, Lastimosa 7, Espeleta 5, Magbuhos V. 4, Pingoy 0, Mojica 0, Catapusan 0, Bernardo 0.

Quarters: 17-16; 28-29; 54-43; 73-71.