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Daquioag, Ferrer combine for 52 as UST avoids Adamson upset



Ever since coach Bong dela Cruz took the helm as UST head coach the Growling Tigers and the Soaring Falcons have figured in close games. Today’s game was no different as the two squads again figured in a close match-up with the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers needing late game heroics from Kevin Ferrer and Ed Daquioag in a 70-64 victory over the Adamson University Soaring Falcons early Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

A blowout seemed inevitable as the Espana-based squad led by 22-5 at the end of the opening quarter. The veteran quintet of Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil, and Karim Abdul pounced on the young Adamson squad, taking turns in punishing the Soaring Falcon defense. Ferrer scored from everywhere while Vigil and Daquioag slashed through the flimsy AdU defense.

Tides shifted during the second quarter as the bench of UST could not maintain the effort of their starters. The young guns of Adamson, led by Jerome Garcia and Alvin Margallo, scored at will against the UST bench. Moreover, UST’s bench combined to miss nine shots while Daquioag went cold from the field as well. A three-pointer by Nico Capote capped a 20-6 AdU rally to cut the UST lead to just three, 28-25. “Nangampante siguro sila nung malaki na lamang namin,” Dela Cruz said about their slow second quarter.

The two squads went back-and-forth to open the third canto. The Ferrer-Daquioag duo continued to sizzle scoring all but two of the 23 UST third quarter points. The Adamson offense did not falter in the quarter, keeping pace with their opponents led by team captain Dawn Ochea. Ochea converted on a jumper and a majestic sky hook that helped cut the UST lead while three point shooting from JD Tungcab and Joseph Nalos kept the Falcons in the game. UST led by just six, 51-45 to enter the final frame.

Daquioag then started the fourth quarter with an amazing array of moves in scoring eight straight points to give UST a 61-54 edge. The momentum of the game shifted to the side of Adamson after Marvin Lee committed an unsportsmanlike foul against Nalos. This fired up the young floor general as he was able to bring down the UST lead to just three, 58-61, with a minute to go. However, at the 1:24 mark, Ochea succumbed to cramps that crippled the Adamson frontline. Daquioag took advantage of this for a layup. Nalos continued to fight back and was able to cut the lead to just three 67-64 with 17.6 ticks remaining. However, free throws by Vigil sealed the game 70-64.

“They played great,” coach Bong Dela Cruz remarked about the veteran tandem of Daquioag and Ferrer. Ferrer also said that he and Daquioag have been preparing themselves to take over the offense since last summer. “Lagi namin sinasabi na kami ang magdadala sa team namin bilang mga beterano,” the Smart Elite ambassador said.

Daquioag topscored with 28 points on 12/25 shooting and stole the ball thrice. Smart Elite ambassador Kevin Ferrer finished with 24 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. For the Falcons, floor general Joseph Nalos led the Falcons’ charge with 18 points while Smart Elite ambassador Dawn Ochea scored 12 points on 5/8 shooting. He was also able to grab five boards.

The UST Growling Tigers (1-0) next face the FEU Tamaraws on Wednesday, September 9 at 4:00pm at the Araneta Coliseum while Adamson (0-1) will take on the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Saturday, September 12 at 2:00pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores:
UST (70) – Daquioag 28, Ferrer 24, Vigil 9, Abdul 7, Lee 2, Huang 0, Lao 0, Sheriff 0, Suarez 0, Subido 0.
AdU (64) – Nalos 18, Ochea 12, Garcia 8, Capote 7, Margallo 5, Villanueva 4, Miranda 3, Tungcab 3, Bernardo 2, Sarr 2, Escalambre 0, Fernandez 0, Ng 0, Polican 0.
Quarterscores: 22-5, 28-25, 51-45, 70-64.