The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers capitalized on a late University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons meltdown in the final frame to post a 76-72 victory in the 2015 FilOil-Flying V Hanes Premier Cup Wednesday afternoon at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
UST had the upper hand in the opening quarter, converting a slim 8-6 lead to a five-point margin, 17-12, with 2:28 left. However, their lead evaporated quickly, as UP went off for a 9-0 run behind Paul Desiderio, JR Gallarza, and Noah Webb to snatch the lead and take the first quarter in their favor, 21-17.
UP went on full speed come the second canto, pushing their slim advantage to a nine-point cushion, 31-22, with less than five minutes remaining. UST came back trimming the deficit down to three, 33-30, after a split free throw from guard Jon Sheriff. However, that proved to be the closest they could get in the first half, for UP scored five more points to go to halftime up, 38-32.
The Growling Tigers were slowly picking themselves up in the third quarter, keeping it close with UP in terms of scoring. Kevin Ferrer, playing his first game of the tournament after a successful stint with the Gilas cadet squad, starred for UST along with Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil and Kent Lao to end the third frame now behind by just a mere basket, 54-52.
The game was starting to slip away in the fourth for UP. Despite a 58-52 lead, UST, behind Daquioag and Ferrer, stormed back to take the lead, 61-59, less than five minutes on the clock. From there, lead exchanges took place, with both teams taking it inside the arc for a better chance of scoring.
The Maroons, from a 68-all deadlock, managed to go up, 70-68, after a lay-up from Cris Vito with 1:14 left. But UST refused to hand over the game to UP, with Kevin Ferrer sinking an off-balanced trey from the left corner to pull his team up, 71-70, with 45.8 ticks remaining. That Ferrer triple seemed to bite UP, as they were not able to pull through down the stretch, allowing UST to score a 5-2 run to eke out and complete the come-from-behind win.
Four Growling Tigers scored in double figures to lead UST, now 2-2, with the returning Ferrer leading the way with 19 points and seven rebounds. Daquioag and Lao each supplied 16, while Vigil chipped in 12 markers. Vito led UP, which dropped to 1-4, with a double-double, 19 and 10, in a losing effort.
UST will have the Centro Escolar University Scorpions this Saturday, May 23, at 3:15 PM, while UP will play San Beda College Red Lions this Friday, May 22, also at 3:15 PM.
UST 76 – Ferrer 19, Daquioag 16, Lao 16, Vigil 12, Sheriff 5, Huang 3, Lee 3, Magno 2
UP 72 – Vito 19, Desiderio 15, Tekoudjou 8, Lim 8, Gallarza 4, Amar 4, Moralde 4, Dario 3, Webb 2, Juruena 2, Asilum 2, Jaboneta 1
|UST (B, 2-2)||17||32||52||76|
|UP (B, 1-4)||21||38||54||72|