Abdul powers UST past FEU in double OTBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines – Karim Abdul came up big down the stretch as University of Santo Tomas stunned Far Eastern University 79-78 in double overtime in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Abdul powered his way to 24 points, including a three-point play that made it 79-76 with only 32.5 seconds left before sealing the Growling Tigers’ sixth win with a huge block on a potential game-tying attempt by Mark Belo.
“Akala ko hindi na matapos. Players yon. It’s all about the players. They didn’t give up. The effort, the desire and the heart were all there. Yon ang hinahanap ko,” said UST head coach Pido Jarencio, whose team fought back from 12 points down in the third quarter.
“Si Karim nung second round he really wanted to prove something na siya dapat ang MVP last year,” added Jarencio on his Cameroonian center.
Aljon Mariano added 21 points, highlighted by a clutch triple that forced the first overtime. Kevin Ferrer, who played through a sprained ankle, chipped in with 15 points, 13 rebounds, four assists and two steals.
With the win, UST will move into a tie in fourth place after Ateneo and La Salle, teams with identical 6-4 records, tangle later.
Terrence Romeo paced the Tamaraws, who have now lost four of their five games in the second round after a 7-0 start dropped to second place behind idle National University, with 19 points on a handful of bad shots en route to a miserable seven-of-23 shooting from the field.
Part of Romeo’s misses was a contested deep three in the waning seconds of the first overtime.
Clark Bautista, who is celebrating his birthday today, scored six points, three came with 10.9 ticks left that paved the way for the second overtime.
UST skipper Jeric Teng missed his second straight game due to a right hamstring injury.