It’s still the same narrative for the Fighting Maroons every time they face the Growling Tigers.
The University of Santo Tomas bounced back from a crushing 38-point loss against the De La Salle University Green Archers, bucking the University of the Philippines’ upset bid in an 83-77 win to notch their second win in the UAAP Season 79 Men’s Basketball Tournament, Saturday afternoon at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
The win is the 19th straight time the Growling Tigers have defeated the Fighting Maroons in the Men’s Basketball tournament.
King Tiger Louie Vigil stuffed the stat sheets with 18 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and two steals. Regie Basibas and Oliver De Guzman added 11 markers each for UST.
“It’s a team effort talaga. It’s a good feeling pagnakikita mo ang contribution ng bawat isa,” UST’s skipper said. “Bibigay ko yung credit sa teammates ko especially kay Oliver de Guzman. May puso yung rookie na yun.”
The Fighting Maroons battled back from 11 points down, 64-53, early in the final frame after a successful three-point play by Louie Vigil. A long jumper by Noah Webb sparked UP’s rally, that was capped by a Diego Dario triple to tie the game at 67-all.
With their veterans cooling down from the field, Basibas and De Guzman knocked down back-to-back three pointers for UST to answer back Javi De Liano’s triple and give the momentum back to UST.
The Growling Tigers then made the necessary stops that led to a pull-up jumper for De Guzman, a free throw for Jeepy Faundo, and a breakaway lay-up by Vigil — in that order — to give UST a 79-71 cushion with 1:29 remaining that was enough to give the hosts its second win.
“Dumepensa kami today,” first year UST head coach Boy Sablan shared. “Napansin niyo di kami nag-zone, this time all the way man to man kami. Maganda naman yung outcome kahit papaano.”
In addition, Sablan shared that they had not undergone a tough practice session the past few days in order for the Tigers to recover both physically and mentally.
“Hindi kami tumakbo sa practice. Puro gameplan lang. Ginawa nila all the way man to man, nagkaroon ng effect sa kanila,” UST’s mentor added. “The last two days, hindi ko sila pinatakbo. More mental at planning sa gameplan lang ginawa namin.”
Kent Lao and Renzo Subido added 10 markers each for the Growling Tigers.
King Maroon Jett Manuel paced the Maroons with 19 points on 5-of-12 shooting from the field. Diego Dario added 14 points, while rookie Javi Gomez De Liano scored a personal-best 12 markers in the loss.
The UST Growling Tigers (2-2) will have a week off before facing the National University Bulldogs (2-0) on Sunday, September 25, at 4:00pm. On the other hand, the UP Fighting Maroons (0-3) will next face the University of the East Red Warriors on Wednesday, September 21, at 2:00pm. The UST-NU tilt will be played at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum, while the latter is scheduled to take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
UST (83) – Vigil 18, Basibas 11, De Guzman 11, Lao 10, Subido 10, Faundo 6, Sheriff 6, Lee 6, Huang 4, Afoakwah 1, Macasaet 0.
UP (77) – Manuel 19, Dario 14, Gomez de Liano 12, Desiderio 10, Webb 9, Romero 4, Harris 3, Espanola 3, Longa 2, Lao 1, Asilum 0, Prado 0, Jaboneta 0, Lim 0.
Quarterscores: 15-11, 34-34, 59-53, 83-77.