UST inches closer to UAAP crown-A A +A
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) is just one game away from joining Far Eastern University (FEU) as the school with the most titles in the UAAP men's basketball tournament.
This came after the UST Growling Tigers outlasted La Salle Green Archers, 73-72, in Game 1 of the best-of-three championship series at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City on Wednesday.
Kevin Ferrer had 20 points and six rebounds while Karim Abdul and graduating skipper Jeric Teng added 19 and 17 points, respectively to tow the Tigers on the cusp of bagging their 19th crown.
The Tigers hold on to that one precarious point, thanks to their defense.
With only 29.1 seconds left, Aljon Mariano mishandled the inbound pass from Ferrer, giving the Archers one last push to steal the night.
But Almond Vosotros missed a game-winning triple while Abdul swatted LA Revilla’s shot at the buzzer as yellow-clad fans were sent into a frenzy.
"I don't even know how we were able to pull it off. It’s the breaks of the game," said UST coach Pido Jarencio.
Teng credited his team’s championship experience, having been in the same situation last year.
“I think there’s no substitute for experience. We used that experience here. Thankfully, the breaks of the game went our way. We’re just lucky,” he told reporters.
The Tigers, who had to overcome top seed National University (NU) twice in the semifinals, last won the title in 2006. They were also the underdogs at the time against Ateneo de Manila University.
La Salle’s loss also meant an end to their nine-game winning streak as mentor Juno Sauler just put the match behind and focus on drawing an equalizer on Saturday, also at the Big Dome.
“Same mindset. We just have to keep improving and that is to be better next game compared to how we play today (Wednesday). We have to improve on each possession that we have,” said Sauler.
The Archers suffered a 17-point deficit in the first quarter before crawling back in the next two frames. They even entered the payoff canto with a four-point advantage, 54-50.
Vosotros paced La Salle with 20 points. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)