UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas booked the last ticket to the UAAP Season 85 High School Boys’ Basketball Tournament after ripping also-ran University of the Philippines Integrated School, 75-63, Saturday at Paco Arena.
With the win, the Tiger Cubs went up to 7-6, a full two games ahead of Ateneo High School, who shocked Adamson University earlier 58-55, and three games over De La Salle Zobel who lost to Nazareth School of National University later in the day 67-60 — with just one game gameday remaining
“Siyempre, mahirap mag-relax kanina. Ni-remind ko sila na hindi pa tayo sigurado sa Final Four. Kailangan natin paghirapan kasi yung mga nasa taas, malakas,” said Tiger Cubs head coach Jinino Manansala, who handled the Growling Tigers back in UAAP Season 84.
Mark Llemit fired eight of his career-high 27 points in the second quarter, helping turn a 20-12 first quarter lead into a 37-26 cushion at the half.
“Sabi lang nila coach na dapat hindi kami magkumpyansa kasi hindi pa kami pasok. Ngayon, nanalo na kami kaya bubuhos pa kami sa last game namin,” said Llemit, who also hauled down 11 rebounds in the contest.
It was all UST from there, sustaining a double-digit lead that went to as high as 15 points late in the game.
JP Pangilinan also tallied a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds while James Jumao-as chipped in 11 rebounds.
Jonas Napalang and Kobe Demisana once again led UPIS, who suffered their 12th straight loss. Both Napalang and Demisana finished with 18 points with the latter also producing 10 rebounds and five blocks.
It is still unknown who the Tiger Cubs will face in the Final Four as Adamson, Far Eastern University-Diliman, and Nazareth School of National University remained deadlocked with 11-2 slates.
Against DLSZ, Reinhard Jumamaoy produced a line of 27 points, 13 rebounds, six steals, and five rebounds. Pervi Timbang added 19 points.
In their final assignment, the defending champions will face the Baby Tamaraws with the winner getting one of the two coveted twice-to-beat incentives.
“Importante sa amin ang laro na yan since malaking bagay ang twice-to-beat, lalo na dikitan yung mga nasa itaas,” said first-year Bullpups head coach Kevin De Castro. “Gagawin namin ang lahat para makuha yun.”
For the Junior Archers, Kieffer Alas led the way with 22 points and 10 rebounds while Rhyle Melencio added 12 points and 16 rebounds.
UST 75 – Llemit 27, Pangilinan 17, Jumao-as 11, Esteban 8, Bucsit 7, Zanoria 3, Ayon 2, Buenaflor 0, Manding 0, Tesocan 0, Suico 0, Chan 0, Velasquez 0.
UPIS 63 – Napalang 18, Demisana 18, Florentino 14, Melicor 6, Raymundo 5, Gomez de Liano 2, Villaverde 0, Rosete 0, Hernandez 0, Cordero 0.
Quarterscores: 20-12, 37-26, 60-47, 75-63.
NSNU 67 – Jumamoy 27, Timbang 19, Perciano 6, Alfanta 6, Colonia 5, Demetria 4, Tagotongan 0, Yusi 0, Herrera 0, Solomon 0, Usop 0.
DLSZ 60 – Alas 20, Melencio 12, Chang 9, Espina 7, Melecio 6, Dimaano 5, John 1, Pabellano 0, Sta. Maria 0, Dionisio 0.
Quarterscores: 21-11, 41-28, 54-51, 67-60.