UAAP: UST holds off FEU for first win under Ayo
University of Santo Tomas notched its first win in the Aldin Ayo era after surviving Far Eastern University, 76-74, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Growling Tigers bounced back after losing their opener against National University, 75-70.
Rookie Ken Zamora hit the biggest shot of the game to give UST a 76-71 lead with just 18.5 seconds remaining after he beat the shot clock with a driving layup.
Although Hubert Cani made a three-pointer with 10.5 seconds left after a turnover from Marvin Lee, the Growling Tigers managed to calm down and pull off a defensive stop, forcing Arvin Tolentino to miss his shot from beyond the arc.
Ayo turned emotional during the post-game press conference, saying the win is the start of the Growling Tigers’ efforts to give back to the Thomasian community which poured its trust in him the moment he took the head coaching job.
“UST deserves this because I felt [former UST] coach Boy [Sablan], I felt the community and they deserve this,” said a teary Ayo in Filipino. “They gave us this immense support.”
“Although I was in a different team last year, I took this job because I felt the community and lots of my friends are there,” added Ayo, who is also a Domincan after having graduated from Colegio de San Juan de Letran in college.
FEU looked to take advantage late in the game after Prince Orizu’s huge two-handed dunk and with UST leading by just one, 72-71, but rookie Garmy Mahinay scored on a follow up layup for the Tigers’ 74-71 lead with 1:43 left.
Mahinay then nearly replicated his heroic shot but missed his free throw line jumper. Fortunately for UST, rookie CJ Cansino grabbed the offensive board with 31.5 seconds left.
Henri Subido led UST’s offense with 18 points while Cansino scrapped for seven points and 10 rebounds.
Orizu had a career-high 25 points with 15 rebounds for the 1-1 Tamaraws.
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