UST outlasts La Salle in double OTBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Aljon Mariano poured all but four of his total 15 points in the two extra times as University of Santo Tomas outlasted La Salle, 84-82, Saturday in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Mariano overcame anemic shooting in regulation and brought in the points in OT, while the rest of the Growling Tigers huffed and puffed and missed most of their shots due to fatigue.
“It’s all by design. We saw his advantage over [Yutien] Andrada,” said Jarencio.
Mariano provided UST’s final four points, driving by Andrada for a left corner jumper with 7.1 seconds left.
Cameroonian center Karim Abdul, who coach Pido Jarencio said wanted to “give out right there on the court” after a gruelling 40 minutes, meanwhile, gave UST two crucial defensive stops in the final minute despite going scoreless in OT.
“The most valuable attitude lesson I’ve instilled in my players is to never give up,” said Jarencio in Filipino. “Karim Abdul was exhausted but he kept on pushing. And that’s rare for a foreigner.”
Abdul, who chalked up 16 points and 16 rebounds, blocked LA Revilla’s jumper with under a minute left then swatted away Yutien Andrada’s game-tying stab with .6 left in the clock.
The Growling Tigers, who have triumphed on all of their assignments since their first game setback to FEU for a 3-1 card, pounced on an incredible opportunity after Revilla’s buzzer-beating game-winner at the end of regulation was not counted.
Clark Bautista blistered from downtown with six treys to finish with 21 points, but was checked offensively in the fourth quarter and overtime periods.
Missed freethrows, 14 in total, haunted La Salle in the end after it took an 82-80 lead in second overtime.
Spry guard Revilla carried the load with 19 points for the Archers, while rookie Jeron Teng, who missed five freebies, added 17 markers, three rebounds and four assists.
The Green Archers reeled to their third straight defeat, all against contenders, for a 2-3 record.