UAAP: UST edges Adamson to claim 1st placeBy Mark Giongco
MANILA, Philippines—University of Santo Tomas came to its senses just in time to nip Adamson, 61-60, Sunday and move in first place in the UAAP Season 75 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“For three quarters and eight minutes we played terribly,” said UST head coach Pido Jarencio. “During the last two minutes we picked our game up.
Karim Abdul, who struggled in the first half, came through in the clutch as he nailed the game-winning basket with 51.1 ticks left.
Abdul, who still ended up with 18 points and 12 rebounds, bulldozed his way down low, withstanding the tough defense put up by agile big Rodney Brondial.
Jarencio owed his team’s tough win to his squad’s character down the stretch (“their attitude of not giving up. As long as there’s time, laban pa”).
Trailing by as much as nine and down six, 54-60, with 3:22 left, the Growling Tigers kept their composure.
Kevin Ferrer sank his only basket of the game on a putback that kickstarted UST’s end-game run.
Jeric Fortuna followed it up with a booming triple that sent the UST crowd in a frenzy.
Fortuna finished with 12 points, five rebounds and seven assists.
“I told them, kayo-kayo na lang ‘to,” said Jarencio, who also didn’t like the way Abdul got minimal touches in the first half. “We started slow but we finished strong.”
Eric Camson shot a game-high 19 points, most of which came in the third quarter where he and counterpart Aljon Mariano went on a shootout.
Silent the entire first half, Mariano came alive when UST needed him most, scoring all of his 12 points in the third, including a go-ahead basket to erase a seven-point lead put up by the Falcons.
With the win, UST improved its stellar mark to 6-1 while Adamson fell to 1-6.
Jarencio said UST’s ready in the second round as his team also welcomes its main man Jeric Teng back after resting his injured knee.