MANILA -- The University of the Philippines (UP) had no quit in them as they rallied back from as much as 14 points down to register a 92-85 come-from-behind overtime triumph over erstwhile undefeated De La Salle University, Sunday at Filoil Flying V Centre.
Javi Gomez de Liano scored 25 points to go along with six rebounds in his first game in the 2019 Filoil Flying V Preseason Tournament.
It was also his hot hands that allowed the Fighting Maroons to endure a slow start that saw them fall behind by as much as 46-60 late in the third quarter.
Come the final frame, Ricci Rivero brought the backup for Gomez de Liano, willing his way inside and fishing for fouls. It was his couple of charities that tied the tally at 74-all near the end of regulation.
"Kudos goes to Ricci, Javi for helping us. It's something that we need to learn - that it has to be in us to learn how to win," head coach Bo Perasol said post-game.
After Rivero blocked Andrei Caracut's triple try, the two teams then headed to overtime.
There, UP's prized transferee dropped 10 of his 28 points on top of eight rebounds and two steals.
Still, the Green Archers kept coming and Jordan Bartlett's pulled them to within one, 81-82, with 68 ticks to go only to see Gomez de Liano make good on an inside basket and a bonus.
Seven more free throw makes from Rivero and Jun Manzo and UP became the first team to down La Salle in the preseason tournament.
In the end, Manzo also added a near triple-double of 18 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists while Noah Webb chimed in two markers, five boards, and a whole lot of energy in the close contest that went to extra time.
Still without Juan Gomez de Liano and with Bright Akhuetie playing limited minutes, the Fighting Maroons have now scored back-to-back wins following a loss in their opener.
On the other hand, the Green Archers fell for the first time despite the best efforts of Justine Baltazar who posted a 22-point, 13-rebound double-double. Aljun Melecio had his own double-double of 13 points and 10 assists.
Neither of them had answers for Rivero, Gomez de Liano, and Manzo in overtime, however.
UP 92 -- Rivero 28, Ja. Gomez de Liano 25, Manzo 18, Akhuetie 8, Prado 7, Webb 2, Gob 2, Murrell 2, Jaboneta 0, Spencer 0, Tungcab 0, Gozum 0.
LA SALLE 85 -- Baltazar 22, Cu 15, Melecio 13, Bartlett 12, Lojera 10, Caracut 9, Manuel 3, Manaytay 1, Bates 0, Lim 0, Serrano 0, Capacio 0.
Quarter scores: 20-17, 38-40, 53-62, 74-74, 92-85
This story was originally published on the ABS-CBN Sports website.