Second stringers step up as UST blasts UE sans Jeric TengBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas just continued piling up on wins, this time blasting University of the East, 85-69, Sunday in the 75th UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Even with their gunner Jeric Teng sidelined due to injury, the Growling Tigers found a way to overwhelm the Red Warriors for their fourth straight win as several second stringers stepped up to the plate.
Sparingly used Louie Vigil made use of his extended minutes and doled out 16 points, while Kevin Ferrer lit up from downtown and finished with 16 points.
“This is Ferrer’s breakout game that I’ve been waiting for, and some of our players stepped out even without Jeric (Teng),” said coach Pido Jarencio.
“It just shows we have a deeper bench, and we have a lot of options.”
Teng is suffering a grade 1 MCL (Medial Collateral Ligament) injury and was advised to sit out a tleast 2-3 weeks for full recovery.
Ferrer knocked down the first of his series of three pointers to stretch UST’s lead, which started ballooning on the efforts Vigil and Ed Daquioag, to 47-24 early in the third quarter.
Main stringers like Karim Abdul and Aljon Mariano, just the same, continued to provid the numbers for UST — who has a chance to close the first round with just a loss to its name.
Abdul, who was feeling it up until the finals minutes of the rout and still didn’t want to be subbed out, collected a team-high 20 points and 19 rebounds.
“Some of my players wanted to stay in the end and really wanted to play, parang nabitin sila,” said Jarencio, whose squad was affected by two cancellations due to torrential rains.
The Warriors, who could potentially end the first round without bagging a victory with just two assignments left, just couldn’t get over the deficit even if some of their guards started heating up midway to the game.
Jhon Rey Sumido uncorked 20 points on five three-pointers for UE, while star guard Roi Sumang finished with 13 points.
UE was able to cut through the lead and bring it down to 13, 34-47, but the run was quickly extinguished by buckets by Melo Afuang, Vigil and treys from Ferrer.