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MIRACLE IN MOA | Desiderio the hero once again as UP stuns FEU

Paul Desiderio emerged as the game hero for the UP Fighting Maroons after sinking a dagger 3-pointer in the final three seconds of the game to defeat the Final Four contender FEU Tamaraws. 
By Kevin Estrada

PASAY CITY -- Paul Desiderio fired away the dagger trey to end UP's longest drought against a single school, taking the game away from FEU in a 59-56 nail biter Saturday evening at the MOA Arena.

Down by ten in the early stages of the payoff period, the Fighting Maroons summoned their heart to end a twelve-game losing run against the Tamaraws dating back six years ago.

The senior guard emphatically ended the wild game of runs as he knocked down the step-back triple from the left elbow in from with 1.1 seconds left to tie their victims at 5-6.

More than that, UP gave UE massive lift on its Final Four hopes while also boosting their postseason credentials in the process.

The Cebuano skippered fired 15 points despite firing an atrocious 26% clip from the field, with just 2/10 from beyond the arc.

Malian centre Ibrahim Quattara helped Desiderio with a double-double of 10 markers and 15 boards, seven of them from the offensive glass.

Jasper Parker ignited the FEU gallery after his clutch trey gave him his 13th point of the game but that was negated by Desiderio's clutch shooting.

Both teams have torched their nets in a bewildered scoring streak, with the season hosts first to string 8 straight to extend their lead to 11 early in the first.

But the Diliman squad countered it by firing 17 in between the quarters to wrest away the upper-hand away from FEU, leading by seven at half-time after limiting the Tamaraws to just seven seond quarter points.

The wild momentum swing continued in the second half with FEU firing in 19 straight after giving up the opening point to Javi Gomez de Liaño, as Arvin Tolentino went supernova, firing in 11 consecutive markers in that period alone to to retake the lead, reducing UP to just five points in the third.

UP then fired the final scoring run in the pay-off period, taking a three point lead thanks to a 13-0 run in 5:05 when Parker tied the game with a booming triple with 32.9 seconds left.

But that was all FEU can say when the graduating captain fired a rainbow shot of his own in front of Ron Dennison to end a six-year wait since August 4, 2011, the last time State U stunned the Tamaraws in the UAAP.

The Scores:

UP 59 -- Desiderio 15, Quattara 10, Manzo 7, Juan Gomez de Liaño 7, Javi Gomez de Liaño 6, Lim 6, Vito 5, Lao 2, Jaboneta 1, Webb 0, Prado 0, Dario 0, Ricafort 0, Battad 0, Romero 0

FEU 56 -- Parker 13, Tolentino 12, Dennison 9, Comboy 6, Trinidad 4, Cani 3, Orizu 3, Ramirez 3, Tuffin 2, Eboña 1, Iñigo 0

Quarter scores: 14-18, 32-25, 37-47, 59-56

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada