It’s UP’s turn for a game-winner this time.
Bright Akhuetie scored on an undergoal stab with 2.6 seconds left to power the Fighting Maroons to a scintillating 73-71 win over Adamson in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball semifinals Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Plagued by foul trouble throughout the match, the league MVP came through in crunch time, converting a pass from Juan Gomez de Liano to complete the victory.
With the victory, the Diliman squad forced a winner-take-all Game 2 on Wednesday, 2:00pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The second seeded Falcons trailed for most of the second half before a late outburst sparked by Papi Sarr, Jerrick Ahanmisi and Sean Manganti pushed them ahead, 69-65.
UP responded with a 6-0 run capped by a Paul Desiderio jumper to give them a 71-69 advantage.
Manganti then made two free throws to tie it for the last time, 71–all, with 3.7 seconds remaining.
Desiderio scored all of his 19 points in a second-half rampage while adding eight rebounds and four assists.
Juan Gomez de Liano chipped in with 19 markers even as Akhuetie struggled for six points, 14 rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Sarr had his best offensive game in a while with 23 hard-earned points and nine rebounds.
The Falcons made just one of their 22 three-point attempts.