Jun Manzo drained the game-winning triple to carry the shorthanded University of the Philippines (UP) to a thrilling 59-56 victory over National University (NU) in the 11th FilOil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup on Wednesday at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City.
Manzo sank the go-ahead trey with 54 seconds remaining in the knockout game as the Fighting Maroons barged into the quarterfinals, their second Premier Cup playoff stint in eight years.
“It (playoffs) is going to be a very good experience to us,” said UP head coach Bo Perasol, who was missing the services of his main men Paul Desiderio (went back to Cebu), Juan Gomez de Liaño (3×3 competition) and Diego Dario (back spasms).
“Any experience we’re going to get from that game would be very valuable going into the (UAAP) season,” added Perasol.
Noah Webb came through with 17 points and three other Maroons, including Manzo, chipped in at least seven points as they finished the elimination round with a 5-3 win-loss record.
Dave Wilson Yu put up 16 points while Reggie Morido and Matt Salem contributed eight markers apiece for NU.
Jayjay Alejandro, who erupted for 25 points with seven triples in the last outing, went 0-of-11 from beyond the arc en route to a lowly six-point performance as the Bulldogs saw their roller-coaster preseason campaign wind up at 4-4.
The Maroons raced to a 10-0 run capped by two baskets from Webb to peg the score at 15-9 in the opening quarter.
Webb beat the halftime buzzer off a robbery play as the State U snag a 29-21 advantage.
NU’s Yu fired 10 points, including back-to-back triples from the left corner, to spark an 18-8 exchange and freeze the game at 43-all heading into the final frame.
UP zoomed to a 10-2 closing rally capped by Manzo’s boooming trey as Alejandro continued on his three-point shooting woes, missing two potential game-tying shots.
Meanwhile, Mapua-Malayan stunned University of Sto. Tomas, 74-65, to remain on the hunt of a Final Four slot in the juniors division.
Mike Enriquez came through with 11 points and seven other teammates scored at least six markers as the Red Robins crowded the Group B top spot with a 4-1 card.
Four Tiger Cubs tallied double figures but still the España-based squad came up short of sweeping the first round, ending up with a 4-1 slate.
In the other juniors match, Lyceum of the Philippines University (2-2) kept its Final Four hopes alive as it crushed Colegio de San Juan de Letran (1-4), 81-69.