In only their first trip to the PCCL finals, the Growling Tigers knocked out the Blue Eagles in three games — as they also avenged their loss in the 75th UAAP finals.
“Sweet revenge na to kahit papano, this is a prestigious event. Isipin mo, kami ang number one collegiate team,” said an elated head coach Pido Jarencio.
Kevin Ferrer nailed a crucial putback off a miss by Karim Abdul with 10.5 seconds remaining, steering the UST out of harm’s way.
Hotshooting Jeric Teng, who finished with 22 points, nailed three treys in the payoff period to give the Growling Tigers the enough cushion.
“I give it to my teammates and my coaches for giving me the trust. I guess I just got lucky in the fourth quarter,” said Teng, who was awared the tournament MVP.
Ferrer added 21 points and nine rebounds and was responsible for the Growling Tigers’ strong start — a stark contrast from the 69-70 loss in game two.
After a 60-all standoff with 9:14 left on the Clock, UST went on a 10-2 blast to wrest the lead for good behind Teng’s six straight points.
Back-to-back buckets from the graduating sly guard Jeric Fortuna gave the Tigers a double-digit lead before Teng’s finale triple with 2:49 made it 79-67, their biggest of the game.
The Blue Eagles, though, countered it with nine straight points — seven from Ryan Buenafe — to bring the lead down to three before Ferrer’s stickback sealed the win.
“We rushed things (that’s why Ateneo was able to comeback). Thankfully, Buenafe wasn’t able to shoot the three (in the end),” said Fortuna.
Fortuna had 11 points in his last game as a Growling Tiger, saying that he doesn’t see the win as revenge.
“Ako gusto lang talaga manalo, para sa UST,” said Fortuna, who has transformed into a reliable point guard through his five-year stay.