MANILA, Philippines — Aljon Mariano took over in the fourth quarter but got help from Kevin Ferrer down the stretch as University of Santo Tomas nipped Ateneo, 63-57, Saturday in the 2013 Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the Arena in San Juan.
In a night where they only mustered six assists, the Tigers banked on a kick out pass by Jeric Teng to Ferrer on the left corner for the dagger of a triple with 15.8 seconds left to play.
Mariano, meanwhile, scored six straight points and showcased nifty moves in the last two minutes of the game to lift the Tigers out off a four-point deficit.
It was a stark contrast from UST’s opening game in the Filoil Pre-Season Cup where Teng and Mariano scored all but eight of their final output although the Tigers still struggled to get rhythm in the first half.
“Masami nung first half kasi di kami sumunod sa plays,” said Mariano, who tallied a game-best 19 points, along with five assists.
“Kailangan teamwork kami para manalo. Alam naman namin na kaya namin yung kalaban, kaya lang nagkakanya kanya lang kami,” he added.
Karim Abdul added 14 points, coming alive in the third quarter where UST almost outscored its entire output in the first half, 22-23 but had to exit the game early as his knee collided with Gboy’s Babilonia.
Ferrer added 13 points and five rebounds for UST, which exploited its height advantage over Ateneo with a 45-39 edge in rebounds.
“Kailangan lang namin take advantage mga mismatches kasi undersized sila,” said Mariano. “Kailangan lang may mag takeover. Sinwerte naman.”
Had Mariano failed to take charge, the Blue Eagles would’ve taken over the game as the Tigers went scoreless for nearly three minutes.
Ateneo even took a 57-53 lead with 2:50 left on the clock on three straight baskets by new recruit Chris Newsome before yielding the next eight points to UST.
Von Pessumal and Newsome led the Blue Eagles, who dropped their first assignment in four games, with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Ravena struggled in the clutch, missing back-to-back baskets and finished with seven points.