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Nic Cabañero’s overtime floater lifts UST over NU in Filoil thriller


Nic Cabañero’s buzzer-beating floater finally lifted University of Santo Tomas into the win column of the Filoil EcoOil 17th ECJ Preseason Cup with a 76-75 overtime stunner against National University on Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

After two tough losses against UAAP Season 86 champion De La Salle University and runner-up University of the Philippines, the revamped Growling Tigers at last secured a triumph over the powerhouse Bulldogs.

“Tine-test namin yung team namin kung hanggang saan kami pupunta and, at the same time, yung mga players nagde-deliver. Yung breaks of the game napunta sa amin against NU, and ang importante, a win is a win kahit one point lang yan,” said UST head coach Pido Jarencio.

Cabañero totaled 19 points—including the Growling Tigers’ last four—on top of three boards, while Hinda Tounkara and Christian Manaytay contributed 18 and 15 points, respectively.

With 17 seconds left in the extra period, Reinhard Jumamoy drained two free throws to put NU up, 75-72. Cabañero then answered with a quick slash and score to trim the deficit to a solitary point.

Sent to the stripe to stop the clock, Bulldogs’ prized rookie Tebol Garcia missed his two free throws and another try due to a lane violation before Cabañero came to UST’s rescue once and for all.

Mo Diassana and Jumamoy wound up with 17 and 15 points, respectively, for the now 0-2 Bulldogs.

In another intense matchup, Jonnel Policarpio propelled La Salle past Adamson University, 80-72.

On the back of Policarpio’s 22 points and six rebounds, as well as Henry Agunnane’s all-around 16-point, 6-rebound, 5-assist, and 3-steal line, the Green Archers have now moved forward from a tournament-opening defeat to UP with two consecutive victories.

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For the still-struggling and 0-3 Soaring Falcons, Jhon Calisay topped the scoring column with 16 points.

In the other bracket, Colegio de San Juan de Letran overcame a 13-point second-half deficit to escape Lyceum of the Philippines University, 91-86, for back-to-back wins in the tournament co-presented by Bostik El Heneral and ABC Tile Adhesive, and supported by major sponsors Smart Sports, Strong Group Athletics, and Hanes.

“Sabi ko lang sa kanila, they need to adjust defensively, yung weak side defense and on-ball defense, then kailangan manalo tayo sa rebounding and mag-extra effort pa tayo,” said interim coach Allen Ricardo.

Former Squires standout Titing Manalili spearheaded the 2-2 Knights with 14 points, five boards, and five assists.

On the other hand, John Barba was the main man for the 1-3 Pirates, tallying 19 points, four rebounds, and three assists.

Still in the NCAA pool, Emilio Aguinaldo College snapped the three-game winning streak of University of Perpetual Help, 60-49, as the Generals improved to a 2-0 record behind Nico Quinal’s 14-point outing.

College of St. Benilde then scored its second win in the preseason showcase, also supported by Tela.com Athletics as official outfitter and Molten as official game ball, as well as minor sponsors Reyes Barbecue, KFC, Brothers Burger, Wallem Philippines Shipping, Harbor Star Shipping Services, Akari, and KantiGo Sports, after an 86-64 lopsided victory vs. rebuilding San Sebastian College-Recoletos, which dropped to a 0-3 standing.

Skipper Matthew Oli led the 2-1 Blazers with 12 points and two rebounds, while veterans Joshua Cajucom and Irele Galas churned out 10 points apiece.

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On the other hand, Raymart Escobido converted 13 points and three boards for the Golden Stags, even as JP Boral shone for the Altas with 13 points and three boards.

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