MANILA, Philippines – There were no last second heroics for Paul Desiderio in the Battle of Katipunan on Wednesday, as University of the Philippines slumped to a 21-point loss to neighbors Ateneo de Manila University.
Just last Sunday, Desiderio had made up for an awful shooting afternoon by draining the game-winner for the Fighting Maroons against University of Santo Tomas in their UAAP Season 80 opener.
This time around, however, the Blue Eagles did not give him a chance to try and bring UP back from the brink of defeat.
"Struggle talaga," Desiderio admitted after the game, which Ateneo won, 92-71, to deflate the Fighting Maroons after their epic victory over the weekend.
"Na-scout talaga kami," Desiderio continued. "Halos lahat ng play namin, na-counter ng Ateneo."
Of all the UP players, it was Desiderio who struggled the most. The Season 79 Mythical team member connected on only four of his 18 attempts, with Thirdy Ravena and rookie Gian Mamuyac alternating on defensive duties on him.
With both Ravena and Mamuyac cutting off his driving and passing lanes, Desiderio mostly settled for jacking up shots from the perimeter, with seven of his attempts coming from beyond the arc. He did not head to the line at all against Ateneo, after taking seven free throws against UST.
His shooting woes has Desiderio considering a change in approach to his game.
"Personally, hindi ako naka-adjust," he acknowledged. "Masyado akong naka-focus sa scoring."
"Siguro, sa next game, playmaker na ako sa team. Maga-adjust ako," added Desiderio, who only had one assist in their loss.
Desiderio also hopes that the huge defeat will serve as a wake-up call to the Fighting Maroons, as they were unable to build on a morale-boosting win and instead fell way short.
"Kailangan namin bumawi," said the veteran. "Pagsisikapan pa rin namin na makabawi kami."
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