Masterful showing from Ferrer as UST extends UAAP finals to game 3
Kevin Ferrer had a third quarter to remember and University of Santo Tomas scraped past Far Eastern University, 62-56, Saturday night to extend the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball Finals to a deciding Game 3 at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Ferrer scored 24 of his 29 points in the third quarter where the Growling Tigers turned the tide before holding on to outlast the Tamaraws in a back-and-forth battle in front of raucous crowd of 21,933.
“We talked at the dugout and reminded ourselves to stay positive and enjoy the game,” Ferrer said on what changed in the second half.
“We weren’t mentally tough in Game 1. We took a one-point lead but we broke down,” UST head coach Bong dela Cruz said.
With UST down by nine at the start of the third quarter, Ferrer took over — scoring his team’s first 17 points and his last basket off a baseline drive put the Tigers ahead by 10, 47-37, at the 2:52 mark of the period.
FEU regained the lead, 54-50, with 4:45 left after six straight points by Raymar Jose. But unlike last Wednesday, when the UST crumbled and was held to only two points in the final five minutes and 55 seconds, the Tigers flipped the script and limited the Tamaraws to just two points in the last four minutes and 45 seconds.
Louie Vigil had a woeful 2-of-11 shooting from the field but his short jumper off a broken play gave the lead back to UST for good, 55-54, with 2:41 left.
Karim Abdul added 11 points and six rebounds while Ed Daquioag chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal.
Mac Belo posted 16 points and 11 rebounds while Roger Pogoy had 12 points and six rebounds before he missed a chunk of the final 3:56 due to cramps.
Pogoy returned with 30.5 seconds left but turned the ball over five seconds later after committing an offensive foul against Kent Lao.
Abdul made a pair of free throws and Ferrer split at the line inside the last 25 seconds to clinch the game.
Game 3 is on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena with both teams looking to end a long championship drought.
The Tamaraws, who haven’t won a UAAP title in 10 years, hope that this season’s finale will be different from last year where they also won the championship opener but lost Games 2 and 3 to the National University Bulldogs.
“That’s the goal, to have a different outcome,” said FEU head coach Nash Racela.
The Tigers last won the crown in 2006 when they stunned the Ateneo Blue Eagles despite dropping Game 1.
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