STANDOUT. Rookie Joshua Marcos impresses in the Tigers' first triumph. Photo byJosh Albelda/Rappler
MANILA, Philippines – University of Santo Tomas stunned the veteran-laden Far Eastern Universtiy Tamaraws in a 76-74 thriller in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, September 12.
Renzo Subido dropped 18 points to pace the Tigers, who picked up their first win in two outings under new coach Aldin Ayo.
The former champion La Salle mentor couldn’t hold his emotions in the post-game presser after a breakthrough game with the rebuilding Tigers.
“Deserving yung UST [ng panalo],” said Ayo. “Naramdaman ko si coach Boy [Sablan, former UST coach]. Naramdaman ko yung community. They deserve this. Kasi grabe yung suporta eh. I know it’s too early. Di kami makukuntento rito, pero the community deserves this.”
(UST deserves the win. I felt the struggles of former UST coach Boy Sablan. I felt the community. They deserve this. Because the support is overwhelming. I know it’s too early. We won’t be contented here, but the community deserves this.)
UST spoiled FEU's bid to grab the early solo lead as both squads wound up tied with 1-1 records.
Tigers standout Marvin Lee connected on a floater with 2:51 left but FEU's Prince Orizu crushed home a two-hander in response, 72-71, at the 2:10 mark.
Lyceum transferee Germy Mahinay extended the Tigers' lead to 3, 74-71, off a putback with 1:46 left, before Ken Zamora sank the shot-clock beating layup, 76-71, with 18.5 seconds remaining.
But FEU kepts its hopes alive as Hubert Cani sank a clutch triple to inch within 2, 74-76, with 10.5 ticks left.
Tamaraws star Arvin Tolentino tried to win it for FEU but his long three off a timeout clanked out.
Lee added 13 points and 4 assists while Joshua Marcos had a rookie breakout game of 12 points, 3 boards and 2 dimes for the Tigers.
Orizu finished with a career-high 25 points on an 11-of-13 (85%) shooting plus 15 big boards in the losing effort. Cani chipped in 15 markers, 7 boards and 4 dimes.
The Tamaraws opened the 4th quarter with an 8-0 run, ending with a Hubert Cani jumper at the 8:52 mark, 60-56. Key returnee Enzo Subido responded, however, with back-to-back threes in an 8-0 UST run of their own, 64-60.
Marcos sparked a 17-4 UST run, 37-25, in the second quarter with 9 straight points in the face of imposing defenders like Prince Orizu. However, the Tamaraws charged back with a 13-2 spurt, stretching to the 3rd quarter to cut the lead to 3, 36-39.
FEU completed the comeback with a wide-open, two-hand flush, 47-46, at the 4:16 mark of the 3rd. Subido reclaimed their advantage, however, with free throws and a long three, 54-50, with 2:36 left.
A small scuffle ensued at the 0:57 mark, with FEU’s Barkley Ebona tangling with UST rook Germy Mahinay under the bucket. Double unsportsmanlike fouls were called on both.
Cooler heads would prevail, however, as UST maintained a 4-point lead, 56-52, heading to the 4th.
UST 76 – Subido 18, Lee 13, Marcos 12, Akomo 10, Huang 9, Cansino 7, Zamora 5, Mahinay 2, Cosejo 0, Cuanan 0, Bonleon 0.
FEU 74 – Orizu 25, Cani 15, Escoto 13, Tolentino 6, Comboy 5, Parker 4, Tuffin 2, Ebona 2, Stockton 2, Inigo 0, Gonzales 0.
Quarters: 15-17, 39-32, 56-52, 76-74.