Before we move on to Game One of the UAAP finals, let’s have a look at the best moments of UP’s victory over Adamson
Photos by Tristan Tamayo
Scoring runs, daring triples, nasty jams, and clutch baskets—you could not have written a better ending than what the college hoops fans witnessed yesterday inside the Big Dome. The UP Fighting Maroons carried out a magical run into the Final Four to reach their first final in 32 years. And while the Adamson Soaring Falcons bowed out, they nevertheless had their own moments even in defeat.
Both sides knew that a shot at the title was at stake. When the only choice that a team has is no less than a victory, you can expect the two title-hungry squads to leave everything on the floor. And they did. The result? An instant UAAP classic that people will talk about years from now. From Juan Gomez de Liaño’s hot hands to Jerom Lastimosa’s last-second dagger, we put together the best moments of the game for your own pleasure:
Juan GDL: A walking bucket
Juan Gomez de Liaño literally brought out every move there was in his scoring book after tallying a career-high 30 points to become the focal point of UP’s offense. More than his remarkable scoring prowess, Juan GDL is that player people would never get tired of watching simply because of how he treats the game: playing with fun.
Be it a slam, a booming triple, or a circus lay-up, Juan GDL has every NBA basket-celebration stored in his head, and he is ready to pull it off anytime he feels the need to. Just look at how he imitated the nosebleed celebration of James Harden after this dunk:
He also imitated Brook Lopez’s dip and sip of tea celebration off a splash:
Well, he really is the Juan.
Jerom Lastimosa: Proof that not all heroes wear capes
Even with the heartbreaking loss, Adamson still has plenty of reasons to be excited about. A newfound gem, a rising star, a hero, or whatever you want to call him, Jerom Lastimosa left a lasting impact and made headlines. With a little over four seconds left in the game, Lastimosa boldly launched a game-tying, off-the-glass trey that sent the game into overtime. He finished with 17 points, three treys, and five assists.
Come the extra five minutes, Lastimosa continued his rampage after giving Adamson a six-point lead, 84-78, with 2:39 left. But UP came back with an 89-87 cushion in the dying seconds. Being the hottest guy on the floor, Adamson set Lastimosa up for a three that he unfortunately missed. That shot could have won the game for the San Marcelino-based squad. Can you imagine how crazy it would have been had he made that shot?
Paul Desiderio’s blood type Is C: Clutch
If there’s a statistical reference in terms of clutch time, Paul Desiderio’s name would be on top of that list. Despite his shooting woes early in the game, the veteran guard still delivered when it mattered most. Who else was surprised? Desiderio came up big in overtime after delivering UP’s last five points, including the go-ahead jumper over Sean Manganti:
He finished with 16 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, four steals, and endless “Atin ‘To” words. When Desiderio says the words “Atin ‘To,” you better believe that the game is really his.
The thousands of UP And Adamson fans
UP and Adamson fans wouldn’t miss this game for the world.
Over 21,000 fans—students and alumni—stormed the Big Dome to give their support to their respective schools. And as soon as the buzzer sounded, the sea of maroon lifted up their phones with the flash on, as if an indication that UP’s bright days have just started. On the other side of the coliseum was the Adamson crowd, seen clapping their hands as a sign of respect for the winning team: