University of Santo Tomas lived to fight another day, once again hurdling University of the Philippines, 89-69, to stay alive in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Stepladder Semis Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy buoyed the Growling Tigers’ late onslaught, firing 16 points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. He also nailed the dagger three from distance to force the sudden-death Game Two.
“It’s all about execution: execution both on offense and defense,” said coach Aldin Ayo, since UST shot a killer 30-percent from deep to extend his side’s mastery of UP. “We executed our game plan and lahat ng instructions ko, sinusunod ng mga players.”
MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo poured 17 points, 15 boards, four steals, and two assists. Meanwhile, Rhenz Abando added 17 points of his own, on top of seven boards and three blocks.
Sherwin Concepcion also played the role of the fireman for the Growling Tigers, drilling timely treys as he went 4-of-8 from distance to wind up with 12 points.
CJ Cansino chipped in 11 points and three rebounds. Renzo Subido dished out 12 assists to go with his eight points.
UST’s hot shooting from outside helped it erect a 19-point lead, 50-31, while fending off numerous rallies from UP to keep the nine-point cushion.
With the Fighting Maroons knocking on the Growling Tigers’ door, 72-63, with 3:14 left, Concepcion and Nonoy buried big treys. Chabi Yo then extended the lead to 17, 80-63 in the final 1:59 in front of a raucous 17,722 gate attendance at the Big Dome.
Juan Gomez de Liano led UP with a season-high 20 points, while Bright Akhuetie registered 19 points and 18 rebounds.
Kobe Paras was held to just nine points on a 4-of-13 shooting clip for the Fighting Maroons.
The winner-take-all duel is set for 4:00pm on Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena. The winner will meet the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the best-of-three Finals.
UST 89 –– Abando 17, Chabi Yo 17, Nonoy 16, Concepcion 12, Cansino 11, Subido 8, Ando 4, Huang 2, Paraiso 2, Bataller 0.
UP 69 — Ju. Gomez de Liano 20, Akhuetie 19, Rivero 12, Paras 9, Webb 4, Ja. Gomez de Liano 3, Tungcab 2, Jaboneta 0, Mantilla 0, Manzo 0, Murrell 0, Prado 0, Spencer 0.
Quarterscores: 19-13, 41-24, 60-47, 89-69.