The University of Santo Tomas are beginning to prove they’re not just a dark horse, but rather, a legitimate contender this UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, laying waste to University of the Philippines, 85-69, Saturday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Mark Nonoy led the Growling Tigers’ rampage of the Fighting Maroons. The super rookie unloaded 16 points, five rebounds, and two assists to steer his side to a 2-0 standing.
Beninese big man Soulemane Chabi Yo also did his part on both offense and defense. He posted 18 points, 18 rebounds, two steals, one assist, and one block to help UST deliver a statement against last season’s silver medalists.
The fourth period, though, was a tight affair, as Jun Manzo put UP within five, 74-69, with 4:03 remaining.
But that proved to be the Fighting Maroons’ last hurra. The Growling Tigers held them scoreless for the remainder of the game, before scoring 11 straight points to put the nail in the coffin.
Still, coach Aldin Ayo refuses to buy on his side’s hype, acknowledging that it’s too early to brand UST as a legitimate threat to Ateneo’s throne.
“Hindi ko iniisip na statement kasi siguro on paper, very talented talaga yung UP. Pero lahat naman napaghahandaan. Isang laro lang naman ito. Meron pang dose pa,” said Ayo, whose sights are now set on the game against the Blue Eagles slated on Wednesday.
Senior playmaker Renzo Subido shot 3-of-6 from distance for 13 points, three rebounds, and three assists. Uber-athletic forward Rhenz Abando added 12 points, seven boards, three blocks, two assists, and two steals. Meanwhile, Dave Ando got 10 points and three rebounds for the España side.
On the other hand, Bright Akhuetie poured 19 points, 16 rebounds, and three assists for UP. Javi Gomez de Liano chimed in 15 points and eight boards, while Jayvee Tungcab had 11 points and four rebounds in the losing cause.
The Fighting Maroons are still missing the services of Kobe Paras.
UP have a week off before trying to bounce back against the Adamson University Soaring Falcons on Sunday, September 15, 4:00pm.
UST 85 — Chabi Yo 18, Nonoy 16, Subido 13, Abando 12, Ando 10, Huang 9, Paraiso 6, Cansino 1, Bataller 0, Concepcion 0, Cosejo 0, Cuajao 0.
UP 69 — Akhuetie 19, Ja. Gomez de Liano 15, Tungcab 11, Murrell 6, Ju. Gomez de Liano 5, Manzo 5, Rivero 4, Webb 4, Gozum 0, Jaboneta 0, Mantilla 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0.
Quarterscores: 19-15, 44-37, 63-58, 85-69.