UAAP: UST outlasts still winless Maroons
(Updated 7:39pm) The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers went on an 11-4 run in the last five minutes to put away the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 68-58, at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, Wednesday, in the first round of the 75th UAAP men's seniors division basketball tournament.
With the win, UST now ties Ateneo for the top spot in the standings with identical 5-1 win-loss cards.
Karim Abdul led all scorers with 20 points, including six in the final period. The Cameroonian also added 12 rebounds and two blocks. Clark Bautista tallied 12 points and four assists, while Kim Lo scored 11 points and eight rebounds, with Jeric Fortuna adding 10.
Tigers head coach Pido Jarencio said he couldn''t recall the last time his team won five in a row, but thanked their good fortune.
"Ang pangit ng first three quarters namin. Hindi kami nag-eexecute kaya ganun ang nangyari," said Jarencio.
In the fourth quarter, after an initial exchange of treys between Silungan and Kevin Ferrer, both teams started to struggle with their offensive. Silungan broke the silence at the 6:06 mark with an open triple from the left corner, as the Maroons began to creep back into the game. A tip-in from Lopez and a free throw from Ball created a 6-2 run for UP, 55-54.
UST, however, countered big time. Abdul went strong to the rim at the 4:01 mark to give the Tigers their first field goal in nearly five minutes. Bautista then buried a triple on their next possession to push his team ahead, 60-54.
Things started to sour for the Maroons as Silungan missed on consecutive trips from downtown. Abdul then scored from the low block with over a minute to play to put UST ahead by eight, 62-54.
Raul Soyud buried a long two for UP, their first points since the 4:46 mark. But Jeric Fortuna answered for the Tigers with a layup on the other end. The Maroons caught a break when UST was called for an eight-second backcourt violation with 32 seconds remaining, but Soyud was stripped of the ball in the post during the bonus possession.
Abdul and Lopez scored a basket apiece with 15 seconds to go and the game all wrapped up.
"Buti nalang nag-pick up kami in the fourth quarter," said Jarencio.
He credited his reserves also for their contributions, especially Kim Lo and Louie Vigil. He added that this week has been tough on his players, who are in the middle of their preliminary exams.
The Tigers opened the game with a three-ball from Vigil, who started again in the place of the injured Jeric Teng. UST pounced on UP's shaky offense and got into transition mode early, as they burst out to an 8-5 lead thanks to opportunities created on the fast break.
UP head coach Ricky Dandan called a timeout at around the six minute mark, and the Maroons showed more composure on the offensive end. Good ball movement yielded two open triples for rookie point guard Henry Asilum in a 10-6 run.
Though Jeric Fortuna made two from the line, UST was unable to convert from the field in the last three minutes. Nonetheless the Tigers held on to the lead, 16-15, after the first period.
The Maroons' defense held in the second quarter and blanked UST from the field. Meanwhile, Mike Silungan and Jelo Montecastro scored on fast break opportunities, and Alinko Mbah drew an and-one on a putback play.
After fumbling several similar chances, Clark Bautista finally broke loose for a fast break lay-up at the 6:22 mark for the Tigers. But moments later, Mbah scored anew on a secondary break to give UP a 23-18 advantage.
The Tigers turned the tables around after a timeout. Aggressive moves towards the rim produced an 8-2 counter of their own, including four from Aljon Mariano, to knot the score at 26-all with under three minutes on the clock. Both teams traded baskets and capped the half with a three-ball each, with Bautista and Asilum converting for their respective teams.
Karim Abdul blocked a last-ditch attempt by Chris Ball under the basket to preserve a 33-33 deadlock after two quarters.
Vigil scored four for UST to open up the third. Save for an open layup by Ball, UP struggled to score in the halfcourt. Abdul was fouled at under the six minute mark and split from the line to give UST a 38-35 lead.
Mark Lopez had four points in an 8-4 swing for the Maroons, converting two from the stripe to edge UST by a single point. But the Tigers took over in the last two minutes with their halfcourt execution. A fast break layup by Bautista then capped an 8-2 run for UST. The Maroons settled for a 50-45 deficit as Montecastro could not convert on a drive.
UST edged UP in rebounding, 47-38, while performing better from the line with a 18-for-24 clip against a 9-for-10 mark from UP.
Mike Silungan and Mark Lopez led UP with 10 points each, while combining for nine rebounds and four assists. Henry Asilum added nine points and three boards for the Maroons.
The Tigers try to go out on a six-game run on Sunday, when they close out the first round versus the Adamson Falcons. UP meanwhile shoots for their first win on the same day, versus the UE Red Warriors. - AMD/RAF, GMA News
UST 68: Abdul 20, Bautista 12, Lo 11, Fortuna 10, Vigil 7, Mariano 4, Ferrer 3, Afuang 1, Pe 0, Daquioag 0
UP 58: Silungan 10, Lopez 10, Asilum 9, Ball 7, Mbah 5, Soyud 4, Manuel 4, Padilla 3, Romero 2, Montecastro 2, Hipolito 2, Wong 0
Quarter scores: 16-15, 33-33, 50-45, 68-58