Fans of UST and La Salle fill up the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City to cheer for their teams who, after six years, will fight for the right to be crowned champion in the UAAP basketball seniors’ event. Game 1 Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013, went to the Tigers who will try to win it all on Saturday. Video by INQUIRER.net’s Noy Morcoso lll
MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas drew first blood and escaped La Salle, 73-72, in a thrilling windup Wednesday in the best-of-three finals of the UAAP season 76 men’s basketball tournament.
The Tigers, who opened with 17-point lead, had to buck a late-game heartbreak after they botched an inbound play and gave La Salle ample time to snatch the victory away.
But a wide-open Almond Vosotros missed the mark from deep, then LA Revilla had his attempt swatted away by Karim Abdul before the time expired for the Green Archers.
“Breaks of the game, either team could’ve won, and I was shocked that we won,” said head coach Pido Jarencio, who was in better spirits.
UST snapped La Salle’s season-best nine-game winning streak.
It wasn’t just the stops that pushed the Tigers to the brink of reliving the glory, but clutch performances from Kevin Ferrer and Jeric Teng kept them ahead down the stretch.
Teng, who’s playing on his last year, scored deep in the baseline over two defenders with 1:37 to play, then Ferrer launched a booming triple a minute after for a 73-69 lead.
“His game is really going up,” said Jarencio of Ferrer, who torched the Tigers with five triples for 20 points.
Karim Abdul added 19 points in showcasing his versatility from inside and the perimeter while Teng chipped in 17 markers.
Jeron Teng, who countered with a brave three-point play to make it 72-73, had 15 points for the Green Archers while Vosotros had 20.
Game two is set on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with UST aiming to bag the title since 2006 while La Salle hoping to extend the series to a decider.
Originally posted at 5:36 p.m.