The Growling Tigers and their seniors wanted this very, very badly.
The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers did not allow defending UAAP Champions, the National University Bulldogs, any chance of gaining a semblance of momentum all game long as the España cagers eliminated the Bulldogs, 64-55, in a wire-to-wire win Sunday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Growling Tigers quickly surged to an early 15-2 lead to start the game. Kevin Ferrer started the onslaught with a putback off his own miss. Baskets by Ed Daquioag, Louis Vigil, and Jan Sheriff compounded the woeful shooting and unforced turnovers of the defending champions. As the Bulldogs settled in, and with Alfred Aroga off the bench, the Jhocson Street cagers went on a 10-0 rally. Aroge started it off with a three-point play with 3:57 to go, and it was capped by a Rev Diputado putback that cut the UST lead to three, 15-12, to enter the second frame.
Daquioag was able to find a cutting Sheriff to open the quarter, while Abdul was able to extend the lead to nine, 21-12, once more at the 8:01 mark following a hook shot. The Growling Tigers then cooled down but the Bulldogs could not take advantage of it, scoring just two field goals. Louis Vigil halted the momentary NU rally with a find to a cutting Marvin Lee that just beat the buzzer. With Karim Abdul hampered by foul trouble, Bong dela Cruz brought in a lineup of Marvin Lee, Ferrer, Vigil, Mario Bonleon, and Kent Lao for a five-out team. The stretch line-up were able to go to a 7-2 rally to close out the quarter to enter the break with a 30-20 lead.
The top-seeded team completely shut down the Bulldogs in the third quarter. They were able to limit the Bulldogs to just two field goals as the Blue-and-Gold squad could not find their bearings in the quarter. Moreover, unforced turnovers plagued the defending champions for the entire ten minute stretch. On the other end, Vigil led the team with eight third quarter points and was able to dish out two dimes to help maintain the UST lead to enter the final frame, 44-32.
The Bulldogs shooting woes could not have come at a worse time, as the entire team were missing wide-open three-pointers. With 4:08 remaining, the Bulldogs were able to connect on their first three-pointer in the quarter, as Alolino found Jeff Javillonar for a top-of-the-arc triple. But just as NU was about to go in transition, Vigil successfully intercepted a Javelona pass for a fastbreak layup to extend the UST lead to 11 once more.
At the 2:12 mark and with National U committing just a single foul, the Bulldogs fouled four straight times to send themselves into the penalty to be able to do the “hack-a-Sheriff.” During the next stretch, Sheriff went just 4/12 in the foul stripe while free throw conversions and a layup by Javelona cut the UST lead to just six, 56-50, with 1:07 remaining. Abdul, though, was able to convert on two free throws while Vigil was 3/4 from his to extend the lead to nine with 45.8 remaining. A final, desperate three by Javelona went in before Lee converted on his final two free throws to close out the game with a 64-55 win to move on to the finals.
“First of all nilabas na nila yung puso nila ngayon,” UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz said after the game. “Dumepensa lang kami ng maigi. One-on-one defense lang talaga ang ginawa namin.”
For Louis Vigil — who scored a game-high 19 points, grabbed 11 boards, dished out seven assists, and successfully stole the ball twice — defense and ball movement were key to their victory “Sa defense maganda yung rotation namin and sa offense maganda ball movement namin.” He then added that, “hinanap lang namin yung mismatch tulad ng sa kin kay Javelona.”
Ferrer then added that it feels good to finally be back in the finals. “Sobrang saya kami kasi last year na namin. Gagawin namin lahat ng magagawa namin para mabigyan kayo ng magandang laban.” UST’s Smart Elite ambassador had 11 points and seven boards but was just 5/18 from the field.
Jan Sheriff addded 10 points. He was 3/5 from the field but was just 4/12 from the foul stripe.
For the Bulldogs, senior Pao Javelona had 17 points in his final game of his collegiate career. Smart Elite ambassador and fellow senior Gelo Alolino was just 1/17 from the field in his final UAAP game. He had six points and five boards.
As a team, NU shot a horrible 26.87% from the field and committed 15 turnovers. On the other hand, UST shot 37.7% from the field.
The UST Growling Tigers will face the FEU Tamaraws in the first game of the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Basketball Finals on Wednesday, November 25 at 3:30pm. On the other hand, the NU Bulldogs will finish the tournament in fourth place.
UST (64) – Vigil 19, Ferrer 11, Sheriff 10, Daquioag 8, Abdul 6, Bonleon 5, Lee 5, Faundo 0, Lao 0.
NU (55) – Javelona 17, Alejandro 8, Diputado 7, Aroga 7, Alolino 6, Javillonar 5, Neypes 3, Celda 2, Abatayo 0, Morido 0, Salim 0.
Quarterscores: 15-12, 30-12, 44-32, 64-55.
SOURCES: Blue Eaglet Joaqui Manuel commits to La Salle
Sara Castaneda sits out 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup
Lady Eagles survive Lady Falcons to grab third straight win
Green Spikers snap two-game skid, keep Red Warriors winless
Azkals weather Fiji comeback in prep for Tajikistan clash
Foton outlasts Sta. Lucia for third win
Thank you, Kia: Chito Victolero credits stint with old team for current success
Chris Ross ‘getting closer to a hundred percent’ just in time for Finals
- Basketball3 days ago
SOURCES: Blue Eaglet Joaqui Manuel commits to La Salle
- DLSU4 days ago
SMART Sports Player of the Week Kim Dy steps up to keep La Salle on top
- Basketball4 days ago
Ben Adamos leaves San Beda, looks to transfer to another NCAA school
- News4 days ago
Michele Gumabao crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Globe