Figuring in their second game in a span of four hours, there was no comeback for the University of Santo Tomas this time. The Growling Tigers fell to the better-rested Zhongtian Qilin Society, 67-86, Sunday evening at the Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower in Shanghai, China.
Still, UST – whose semifinals game ended at around 5:30 pm – in second-place in the two-day NBA 5v5 tournament that featured four of the top amateur teams in China and teams from Hong Kong, South Korea, and Japan.
However, unlike their games against DK Basketball and Dispatch, the tired legs of the Growling Tigers could not find their next gear. Meanwhile, ZQS had three hours to rest and had time to scout UST, and so took advantage.
Down by 10 early in the final frame, UST skipper CJ Cansino tried to keep his squad close. He knocked down free throws and a triple to cut the lead to just seven, 62-55, with 4:27 left.
Cansino had nine points in the game.
ZQS then bombarded the Filipinos as Hou Ziyu and Hu Liangyu took over. In just a blink, the Chinese unleashed a 23-10 blitz to gain a 21-point cushion, sealing the crown and RMB 500,000.
Soulemane Chabi Yo led UST with 21 points and 15 rebounds, but was held scoreless in the final frame. Mark Nonoy and Rhenz Abando had 12 and 10 points respectively but shot a combined 7-of-29 from the field.
Ren Yuzin powered ZQS with 23 points, while Guo Xiao added 18 markers. Brandon Williams tallied a double-double as well with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Completing the 10-man UST team were Renzo Subido, Brent Paraiso, Enrique Caunan, Zachy Huang, Deo Cuajao, and Ira Bataller.
The Growling Tigers will now focus their attention on the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, September 4.
UST 67 – Chabi Yo 21, Nonoy 12, Abando 10, Cansino 9, Subido 6, Paraiso 5, Caunan 4, Huang 0, Cuajao 0, Bataller 0.
ZQS 86 – Ren 23, Guo X 19, Ma 13, Williams 10, Hu 9, Hou 8, Guo Z 3, Li 2.
Quarterscores: 14-21, 34-38, 49-55, 67-86.