Tigers claw Bulldogs

UST becomes first fourth seed to make Finals, seals title showdown vs La Salle

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ALJON Mariano of UST (left) and Glenn Khobontin of NU typify the struggle of their semifinal encounter during this rebound battle. AUGUST DELA CRUZ

COACH Pido Jarencio cried unabashedly as University of Santo Tomas stood seconds away from clinching a championship berth.

The emotional reaction came after his Tigers became the first No. 4 team to advance to the UAAP men’s basketball Finals with a 76-69 decision that ousted top-seeded National University yesterday in their do-or-die semifinal duel at Mall of Asia Arena.

The Tigers overcame the twice-to-beat advantage of the Bulldogs with Kevin Ferrer and Jeric Teng knocking in the clutch baskets in the final quarter to derail NU’s late fightback.

“This is history, this is the first time this happened,” said Ferrer. “This is destiny for us.”

The Tigers will go for another shot at the crown against the streaking La Salle Green Archers this week in what would seem like a revival of their fierce rivalry in the ’90s.

Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series is set on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“I’m speechless,” said Jarencio, who couldn’t hold back his emotions even at the press room. “Hindi ko akalain na aabot ng Finals. Madaming taong nagdududa sa kakayanan ko (I never thought we will reach the Finals. So many doubted my capabilities).”

Jarencio, indeed, had every reason to be emotional as the Tigers headed into the game with history against them as no fourth-ranked team has eliminated the No. 1 seed since the league introduced the Final Four format in 1994.

But the Tigers came out confident from the get-go, building an 11-point advantage right in the first quarter before dousing the Bulldogs’ repeated rallies.

Ferrer knocked in half of his 18 points from three-point range, the last triple sparking a huge 17-8 windup in the last four minutes.

The self-destructing Bulldogs committed a spate of turnovers in the final minute as NU star Ray Parks also wound up scoreless in the final quarter.

Jeric Teng topscored with 19 and Aljon Mariano delivered 12 points and 10 rebounds to help the Tigers go for another try at the title after bowing to the Ateneo Blue Eagles in last year’s Finals.

NU also absorbed a painful loss earlier as the Lady Archers blasted the top-ranked Lady Bulldogs, 72-48, in Game 1 of the women’s championship.

Ara Abaca had a double-double outing of 16 points and 11 rebounds while Trisha Piatos shot 15 for the Lady Archers, who outscored the Lady Bulldogs, 22-7, in the final quarter.

“It was a great defensive effort on our part,” said La Salle coach Tyrone Bautista. “Going into this game, NU was the No. 1 offensive team.”

The scores:

UST 76–Teng 19, Ferrer 18, Mariano 12, Bautista 8, Sheriff 6, Abdul 6, Daquioag 3, Lo 2, Pe 1, Lao 1.

NU 69–Parks 15, Mbe 10, Alolino 10. Javelona 9, Villamor 8, Rosario 6, Roño 6, Khobuntin 3, Javillonar 2, Neypes 0, Alejandro 0.

Quarters: 19-10, 31-31, 50-49, 76-69

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  • Toni Montana

    When the game was on the line… Bobby Ray Parks was seen walking around Rizal Park with his girlfriend. That’s why NU lost the game!

  • nes911

    Ust players played well as a team but no thanks to jarencio. Jarenio could not even set up plays. But thanks to the leadership of teng and to the forceful plays of ferrer and sheriff. Determination did it.

  • samarutan

    Go USTe!

  • eagleclaw101

    No wonder Coach Jarencio cried unabashedly due to the fact
    that prior of the knock-out games against NU the UST management are doubtful
    already on Jarencio’s coaching ability to carry the team to victory.

  • Jun Go

    this is not the first… ateneo beaten feu with the latter having twice to beat incentive.

    • onin

      Feu was not seeded #1 then and admu was not at 4th…

      • Edward Castro

        UST becomes first fourth seed to make Finals
        baka di nakita ang headline. dapat kasi sinabi uli sa writeup yun kaya akala ni ng iba e yung nanalo beating twice the higher seed,

  • blade_29

    that’s the way to go ust! la salle will be next, go uste!!

  • delta8

    go uste!!!

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