Courtesy of a monster game from Paul Desiderio, the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroon kept their Final Four hopes alive by dominating the National University Bulldogs, 106-81, in their last remaining elimination game of UAAP Season 80, Saturday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.
UP, who raced to a lead early on in the game and never looked back relied on the Cebuano hotshot Desiderio who led five Maroons that scored in double-digits as he dropped 30 points, seven rebounds and three assists. The Gomez De Liano brothers were crucial for UP as well as each chipped in a double-double with the younger Juan tallying 22 markers and 13 boards to go along with four assists while the elder Javi scored 17 and grabbed 10.
For the Bulldogs, Issa Gaye had a double-double of his own of 25 points and 10 boards to pace NU while graduating star guard Jayjay Alejandro 16 points, four rebounds and eight assists in his last game.
The victory propels UP to have a chance at entering the Final Four depending on the results of the proceeding game of FEU and Adamson. A win by Adamson allows UP to have a playoff for the number four spot while an FEU victory eliminates UP.
UP: Desiderio 30, Gomez de Liano Ju. 22, Gomez de Liano Ja 17, Manzo 14, Quattara 12, Webb 3, Lim 2, Harris 2, Ricafort 2, Romero 2, Jaboneta 0, Prado 0.
NU: Gaye 25, Alejandro 16, Joson 7, Salem 7, Tibayan 7, Mosqueda 4, Bartlett 4, Diputado 3, Cauilan 3, Aquino 3, Morido 2, Yu 0, Abatayo 0, Lastimosa 0, Flores 0, Rangel 0.