Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City
2 p.m. UE vs NU
4 p.m. Adamson vs Ateneo
UNIVERSITY of the Philippines (UP) is seemed on track for a winless campaign in three years in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) after University of Santo Tomas (UST) downed the Maroons Saturday, 68-66, at the Araneta Coliseum, Quezon City.
In the second game, La Salle’s skipper Simon Atkins dished out 14 of game-high 19 points to deal Far Eastern University’s (FEU)) worst beating to date, 80-66.
UST banked on the late game efforts of Aljon Mariano and Chris Camus, who combined for 11 points in the final five minutes of the payoff period to pull the rug from UP and stay in the delicate hunt for the elite Final Four slot.
Mariano started to turn the tables by knocking in a triple to put the score at 57-58 with 5:33 left, and never looked back.
UP tried to make a scare in the last 25 seconds, courtesy of rookie Mike Silungan’s triple, which cut the lead to three, 66-63, but Clark Bautista’s split charities off an Alvin Padilla foul gave the Tigers a four-point cushion, 67-63, with 7.9 ticks remaining.
Padilla drained his second triple to put UP at a one-point setback but that proved to be his last gallant stand for the Diliman-based cagers as he fouled sophomore Jeric Teng just as the final buzzer sounded.
Teng, who topscored for UST with 17 points, made one of his two charities to end the game at 68-66, to the delight of the Espana-based fans who waited for a month to see the 2006 champions snare its fourth victory in eleven starts.
“We have to fix our team first if we want to sustain this win. We have lost close games in the past and we have to try our best if we still want to finish the elimination campaign with the Final Four door open,” mentor Pido Jarencio told Sun.Star.
UP came into this game like a depleted squad after losing Mark Lopez to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury and skipper Woody Co to foot injury. Silungan, on the other hand, has not yet recovered from flu and Gomez had tonsillitis.
Padilla, Martin Reyes, and Carlo Gomez posted 12 points apiece in the Maroons’ losing effort while Mariano and Chris Camus teamed up for 22 markers for the Tigers, who tied University of the East for a share of sixth place at 4-7, half game behind idle National University (4-6).
UST swept UP in the 73rd season after a pulsating 87-81 overtime win last July 22 in the same venue.
Atkins powers La Salle
Meantime, the 21-year-old Atkins, who sustained a cut in the left eyebrow in the early minutes of the second quarter, came big in the second half as FEU failed to break La Salle’s signature full court press to finish the payoff period with a paltry nine points.
“The boys showed character after the nightmare and I want to congratulate the boys for a job well-done. I think we have outrebounded them and that’s the key,” coach Dindo Pumaren told reporters.
La Salle’s imminent demolition of the league-leaders started with Jarelan Tampus’s drive that gave the school a one-point advantage, with 9:19 remaining.
The Taft-based squad never squandered the opportunity to vent its ire on FEU after a stinging 57-74 defeat to archrival Ateneo last August 22 by burying all possible baskets.
Freshman Rookie dela Paz gave La Salle a comfortable 11-point lead, 79-66, in 1:21 while lanky Yutien Andrada’s split charities sealed the game’s final score with 33.7 ticks remaining.
FEU, the first team to enter the Final Four after defeating University of Santo Tomas last week, suffered its second loss in the tournament since August 12 when a determined Adamson quintet shocked the Morayta-based squad, 63-64.
Ryan Roose Garcia, this season’s top contender for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) plum, never scored a single point in the last canto.
UST (68) - Teng 17, Mariano 11, Camus 11, Fortuna 10, Bautista 6, Afuang 6, Pe 5, Mamaril 2, Marata 0, Lo 0, Daquiaog 0, Aytona 0.
UP (66) - Reyes Martin 12, Padilla 12, Gomez 12, Juruena 8, Reyes Mikee 6, Silungan 5, Hipolito 3, Saret 0, Pascual 0, Maniego 0.
Quarters: 14-14, 26-31, 45-51, 68-66.
La Salle (80) - Atkins 19, Dela Paz 12, Tampus 10, Andrada 9, Villanueva 8, Vosotros 5, Mendoza 5, Tolentino 4, Paredes 2, Webb 2, Marata 2, Ferdinand 2.
FEU (66) - Garcia 18, Ramos 14, Romeo 11, Cawaling 8, Cervantes 7, Cruz 2, Sanga 2, Knuttel 2, Bringas 1, Exciminiano 1, Mendoza 0, Noundou 0.
Quarters: 17-21, 34-38, 54-57, 80-66.