The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers have suffered two of their worst losses in the Filoil Flying V Centre. They were handed a crushing 53-85 loss by Ateneo last September 29; then just last week, UST saw their three-game winning streak snapped by NU, 61-69.
This time around, Marvin Lee and CJ Cansino did not allow a third loss at the same venue, leading the Growling Tigers past the University of the East Red Warriors, 79-68, Sunday afternoon.
“We played well. We adjusted well on their offense especially after the first quarter,” shared two-time Coach of the Year Aldin Ayo. “We just played defense. For us, everything starts with defense.”
With Renzo Subido out with an undisclosed left foot injury, Marvin Lee took over UST’s backcourt, scoring 22 of his 30 points in the first half to put the Growling Tigers up for good.
“Until now, we still don’t know. After our practice last Friday, wala naman nangyari pero biglang namaga yung left ankle niya. He is still going to have his MRI tomorrow. But the initial diagnosis is stress fracture. Sana ‘wag naman,” shared Ayo.
Down eight midway through the first frame, Lee heated up, knocking down to triples to keep UST within striking range.
But that was just the start, as Lee hit five more from beyond the arc in the second stanza – including three straight triples to put UST up for good.
“Lumabas yung laro ko lang. Sinunod ko lang yung sistema,” reflected Lee.
Alvin Pasaol and Philip Manalang could not string together a run in the second half, as the rest of the Growling Tigers followed suit. UE could not cut the lead down to below nine points in the final frame.
Still, there was a number to watch, as Cansino was chasing a triple-double. With 51.1 seconds left in the game, Cansino was able to find Zachy Huang underneath for a layup to secure his 10th assist. The rookie glued things together for the Growling Tigers, notching a triple-double with 20 points, 14 rebounds, and 10 assists. This is the second triple-double this season.
“Masaya kasi nakuha ko yung triple-double pero sinunod ko lang yung sistema,” the UST lifer said.
Huang added 14 points and seven rebounds.
This was a pivotal victory for the Growling Tigers, as they gain momentary fourth-place in the UAAP Season 81 Men’s Basketball Tournament standings with a 5-5 record.
The also-ran Red Warriors dropped their sixth straight game to fall to 1-10.
Pasaol once again led UE with 26 points, seven rebounds, and three steals, while Manalang had 15 points and eight assists.
UST look to get back at the De La Salle University Green Archers on Saturday, November 3, at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo City. UE, on the other hand, look to do an encore of their upset of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Sunday, November 4, at the same venue.
UST 79 — Lee 30, Cansino 20, Huang 14, Bataller 4, Bonleon 4, Caunan 2, Agustin 2, Mahinay 2, Zamora 1, Marcos 0.
UE 68 –– Pasaol 26, Manalang 15, Conner 12, Bartolome 6, Varilla 4, Strait 3, Lacap 2, Guion 0, Beltran 0, Cullar 0, Gallardo 0.
Quarterscores: 17-19, 39-33, 59-49, 79-68.
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