MANILA, Philippines — Aljon Mariano used a quick first step then exploded to the rim to give University of Santo Tomas a six-point breather with 1:10 left in a tight fourth quarter.
He then nailed a long jumper with 44 seconds left, completing the Tigers’ fourth-quarter takeover for an 83-79 win over San Sebastian on Friday in the 2013 Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at the Arena in San Juan.
Mariano, who scored 13 in the last quarter and finished with 23, breathe life into UST after losing its lead to a San Sebastian run spearheaded by CJ Perez late in the third.
But he said their play execution was bad and they lacked aggressiveness. It took coach Pido Jarencio to tell them to keep the ball moving and avoid isolation plays. Nagkataon lang na sa akin napunta ang bola (it just so happened I got hold of the ball), ” said Mariano.
The Tigers earned their first seven points in the payoff period through the stripe, cashing in on Karim Abdul and Mariano’s relentlessness to the hoop. They turned a 58-59 deficit to a 65-61 lead with 6:52 to play.
Abdul added 14 points, Clark Bautista and Kevin Ferrer had 12 and 10 points, in that order.
But the Stags still hang tough, staying within striking distance and even pulled within a point, 73-74, with 2:05 left to play on an and-one play with Perez.
Mariano then answered with a three-point play of his own before he helped the Tigers push the lead to a safe eight points, 83-75.
Perez still finished with a game-best 24 points along with five rebounds, two assists, and four steals. Dela Cruz added 20 points for the Stags.
The Tigers improved to 2-2 in group B while the Stags dropped to 2-4 and third to the last.
UST 83 — Mariano 23, Abdul 14, Bautista 12, Ferrer 10, Tan 8, Daquioag 7, Marata 3, Sheriff 2, Lo 2, Pe 2, Hainga 0. Lao 0, Faundo 0.
SAN SEBASTIAN 79 — Perez 24, Dela Cruz 20, De Vera 12, Gusi 9, Rebollos 7, Tano 5, Magno 2, Vergara 0, Vergara 0, Balucanag 0, Padilla 0, Quipse 0.
Quarters: 18-14, 35-28, 58-59, 83-79.