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Clutch Desiderio sinks Falcons, pushes UP to first finals in 32 years

There was a big shot and then a bigger shot. 

But when the game was in the balance, Paul Desiderio hit the biggest shots.

The Cebuano hotshot shone bright as the summer sun in crunch time, delivering the knockout blows to Adamson’s championship hopes and propelling UP to the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball finals after an 89-87 overtime win Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

With the Fighting Maroons down a point, Desiderio drilled a cold-blooded triple off a pass by Jaydee Tungcab to push them ahead, 87-85.

Jerom Lastimosa, who earlier made the three-pointer that sent the game into overtime, calmly sank two free throws to tie the match for the last time at 87-all.

Desiderio then took matters into his own hands, canning a jumper over the outstretched hands of Sean Manganti with 6.6 seconds remaining.

Lastimosa botched a three-point attempt as time expired, sending the UP crowd to a frenzy.

Juan Gomez de Liano was stellar in the first half and scored 20 of his career-high 30 points there.

Desiderio, meanwhile, missed 16 of his first 18 shots before making the biggest baskets in the clutch. He had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

Jerrick Ahanmisi top scored for the Soaring Falcons with 20 points, but had to leave the game with under a minute left due to cramps.

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