MANILA, Philippines — Aljon Mariano shook off his shooting slump at the most opportune time to lead University of Santo Tomas over University of the East, 88-77, Saturday in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Mariano, who came in averaging just six points in the Growling Tigers’ first three games, got his form back with 24 points and 11 rebounds to fill in for the injured Jeric Teng.
“I’m speechless because the boys really wanted to win for Jeric [Teng],” said UST coach Pido Jarencio.
“This is Mariano’s breakout game after he was injured,” added Jarencio.
Karim Abdul led UST in scoring with a career-best 25 points, 14 in the first half, to go along with 13 rebounds.
UST, which improved to 3-1, closed the game on a 16-4 run after UE led, 73-72. The Red Warriors dropped to 1-3.
Roi Sumang paced UE with 21 points, 20 of which came in the second half.