UAAP: Tigers claw back from 16 down, snap Blue Eagles streak
Kevin Ferrer took over when it mattered most and University of Santo Tomas rallied past Ateneo, 68-58, to grab a share of the top spot in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Ferrer scored 27 points on 6-of-10 shooting from deep, including the game-tying basket, 57-all, on a step back over Kiefer Ravena with 3:26 left.
Struggling majority of the game, Karim Abdul pulled through late with crucial plays.
Abdul hit back-to-back baskets that gave the Growling Tigers a 63-58 cushion with 2:05 remaining after UST fell behind by as much as 16 points in the third period.
“We talked about our defense and I told my players to keep working,” said UST head coach Bong dela Cruz in Filipino. “We were able to cut the deficit to 10 entering the fourth quarter and the players started to defend.”
“First three quarters we were flat with our defense. Then, Kevin Ferrer huddled the team and the players responded.”
Dela Cruz revealed Ferrer had fever but it hardly showed with the graduating forward at the forefront of the Tigers’ fightback.
“I couldn’t sleep last night and I told coach to just put me as part of the second group but he just said to fight it off and I was able to do so,” Ferrer told reporters.
Von Pessumal helped Ateneo build a 52-36 advantage with 2:04 left in the third quarter before Ferrer waxed hot to spark a 32-6 surge by UST in the final 12 minutes of the game.
The Tigers locked down on Ravena, who only had 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting from the field.
The Blue Eagles had their three-game winning run snapped to slip to 3-2.
The Tigers have a similar 4-1 record with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws but will end up on top due to the winner-over-the-other rulUAAP Season 78 men’s basketball standings | Create infographics