UAAP: UST rallies, repeats over FEU
UST scored a gutsy come-from-behind victory over FEU, 85-76, to assure itself of a playoff for a twice-to-beat advantage in the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Karim Abdul had 23 points for the Growling Tigers, who recovered from a poor start and a 14-point hole to pick up their 10th win in 13 stints while dealing only the second loss of the Tamaraws. He also hauled down five rebounds and dished three assists.
“We’re just all heart. I didn’t want us to be in a situation where we have to play for the twice-to-beat. We had to win this game at all cost,” said the Cameroonian center Abdul, who is in his final playing year.
Abdul and Kevin Ferrer spearheaded the rally while also getting help from Louie Vigil and Mario Bonleon, who added 13 points apiece.
Ferrer, who asked to be subbed out late in the third quarter after experiencing palpitation, scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds and his teammates drew strength from his return in the endgame.
Down by 14 early, 38-24, the Growling Tigers picked up the slack to tie the game at 45 by halftime behind a balanced attack with Ferrer and Abdul at the frontline.
“They were hitting their outside shots but we just kept playing our defense,” said UST head coach Bong dela Cruz.
UST, which secured at least a playoff for the No.2 position, beat FEU, 72-71, in the first round early in the season.
Mike Tolomia led the Tamaraws with 17 points while Francis Tamsi scored all of his 15 points from downtown. FEU, which had its nine-game winning streak snapped, shot itself in the foot with 22 turnovers while UST, with its veteran crew providing stability, only committed nine.
UST 85 – Abdul 23, Ferrer 21, Bonleon 13, Vigil 13, Daquioag 11, Lee 4, Faundo 0, Lao 0, Sheriff 0, Suarez 0.
FEU 76 – Tolomia 17, Tamsi 15, Belo 12, Pogoy 8, Ru. Escoto 6, Arong 5, Jose 4, Orizu 4, Trinidad 3, Iñigo 2, Dennison 0, Eboña 0, Ri. Escoto 0.
Quarters: 19-30, 45-45, 69-59, 85-76.
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