Desiderio erupts for career-high 31 as UP downs depleted FEU
MANILA, Philippines – It was Paul Desiderio's turn to put on a show just days after University of the Philippines teammate Juan Gomez de Liaño dropped a record triple-double.
UP built on a white-hot 1st quarter anchored on Desiderio as the Fighting Maroons downed the banged-up Far Eastern U Tamaraws, 95-82, in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, October 24.
Desiderio unleashed 18 of his career-high 31 points off a perfect 6-of-6 clip from downtown in the opening canto.
With the win over the Tamaraws – who remain winless in 3 games in the 2nd round – the Maroons climbed to a share of 4th place with their victims at 5-5.
"I have to make sure to commend Paul and his very hot start. It gave us the confidence, it gave us the feeling that we can do it," said UP coach Bo Perasol.
"The way he played is just the epitome of what we need to happen, despite of the odds, he just pushed through. So I have to commend him for that. This is his best game so far this season."
Desiderio nabbed his career-best performance off a 7-of-9 (78%) shots from downtown.
Gomez de Liaño came one assist shy of a second-straight triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds and 9 dimes off the bench.
The Tamaraws played minus team stars Arvin Tolentino (suspended) and Prince Orizu (injured).
While Desiderio gave UP fans a scare at the 6:17 mark of the 3rd after rolling his ankle, he returned to finish the quarter strong as the Maroons zoomed to a 78-65 edge.
More hot shooting ensued for the Maroons in the final quarter as the King Maroon clinched his new career-high with 6:24 left, 84-73.
Bright Akhuetie – who also starred with 20 points, 11 rebounds and 7 assists – sealed the deal with two free throws at the 1:22 mark.
Branrey Bienes came off the bench with a team-high 14 points and 5 boards for FEU.
Kevin Eboña led 5 other Tamaraws in double-digit scoring with 13 markers and 8 boards, all on the offensive end.
UP 95 – Desiderio 31, Akhuetie 20, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 19, Manzo 11, Dario 6, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 4, Jaboneta 2, Gozum 2, Vito 0, Murrell 0, Lim 0, Prado 0.
FEU 82 – Bienes 14, Eboña 13, Comboy 12, Cani 11, Iñigo 10, Escoto 10, Ramirez 5, Stockton 3, Parker 2, Tuffin 2.
Quarters: 37-30, 54-43, 78-65, 95-82.