University of Santo Tomas survived a late rally from Far Eastern University, 81-71, to advance to the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Stepladder, Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Soulemane Chabi Yo showed why he is the Season MVP, pouring in a career-best 25 points, 11 rebounds, and three assists to steer the Growling Tigers to the next phase.
Brent Paraiso added 18 points on a blazing 5-of-9 shooting from deep, while also grabbing five boards. But his most crucial buckets were the freebies he buried with 17.0 seconds on the clock. There, he iced the game for UST to set the date against two-seed University of the Philippines on Sunday.
“Nothing comes easy. Walang madali eh,” said coach Aldin Ayo. “Right from the start ng season namin, talagang mahirap eh. Itong laro na ito akala namin madali, pero FEU ‘yung kalaban namin eh at hindi basta-basta bibigay ito.”
The Growling Tigers were on fire to open the game. They collectively shot 6-of-12 from deep as they opened the game on a 15-4 start.
Threes continued to fall, as they took a 54-28 halftime lead that swelled to 26, 57-31 early in the third frame.
But that only triggered the Tamaraws to rally, getting to within five, 70-65 with 6:37 on the clock.
With FEU knocking on UST’s doors, Renzo Subido and Chabi Yo hit crucial buckets in the endgame. The senior sniper then buried the crucial three to give the España side the 78-65 with 1:28 left.
Ken Tuffin’s triple cut the lead down to 10, but offense fell flat for the Tamaraws late. Paraiso then iced the game for good for the Growling Tigers.
Subido wound up with 14 points, as he shot 4-of-12 from threes. UST as a collective shot 31-percent from deep.
Tuffin led FEU with 20 points and five rebounds, while L-Jay Gonzales chimed in 11 points, nine assists, and three boards.
Ino Comboy, Hubert Cani, Barkley Eboña, and Kimlee Bayquin played their final game in FEU.
Eboña saw the end of his collegiate career early after incurring a pair of unsportsmanlike fouls, hitting the showers at the 1:19 mark of the second frame. He got nine points and seven rebounds in the defeat.
The Growling Tigers now head to Sunday’s game against no. 2 University of the Philippines, still at the same venue. The Fighting Maroons will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the duel.
UST 81 –– Chabi Yo 25, Paraiso 18, Subido 14, Abando 9, Nonoy 6, Huang 4, Bataller 3, Cansino 2, Ando 0, Concepcion 0, Cuajao 0.
FEU 71 — Tuffin 20, Gonzales 11, Cani 10, Ebona 9, Comboy 8, Torres 8, Tchuente 5, Alforque 0, Bayquin 0, Bienes 0, Stockton 0.
Quarterscores: 26-16, 54-28, 70-56, 81-71.