The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers survived the offensive streak by Lyceum of the Philippines University (LPU) Pirates in the fourth quarter to come out on top, 72-66, in the 2015 FilOil-Flying V Hanes Premier Cup this afternoon at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan City.
Both squads played a close game in the opening quarter, sending it to a nine-all knot with less than six minutes left. LPU caught the upper hand, 12-9, after a successful three-point play conversion from Guy Mbida with 4:36 remaining. The Growling Tigers, with Marvin Lee and Ed Daquioag leading the pack, heavily outscored LPU, 16-5, to end the frame in their favor, 25-17.
The Pirates opened up the following quarter by scoring through free throws off UST fouls, slowly chipping away the deficit to close within four, 27-23, in the 6:03 mark. LPU’s points off free throws did not stop from there, finally tying it up at 30-all with less than five minutes left. But UST, behind Daquioag, Jon Sheriff, and Christian Kakonda, sparked an 8-0 run to establish a 38-30 lead with forty seconds on the clock. Wilson Baltazar sank a trey for LPU to end the first half trailing, 38-33.
LPU, in the third canto, slowly trimmed UST’s lead to close within one, 41-40, with less than seven minutes remaining. But they could not capitalize still, as UST provided answers for every LPU basket to hold the advantage. Ahead by four, 48-44, the Growling Tigers made another 11-4 run to establish their first double-digit lead, 59-48, after a split free throw from Sheriff to head to the final quarter up.
UST’s huge lead evaporated in the final frame, with LPU, behind Mbida and Shaq Alanes, cutting the lead down to just three, 65-62, approaching the two-minute mark. However, a Daquioag triple and a Kakonda under-basket stab widened the gap for UST, 70-62, with 1:05 left. The Pirates closed within striking distance, 70-66, after a pair of freebies from Jebb Bulawan and a layup from Edcor Marata with less than fifty ticks remaining, but Daquioag’s free throws with 23.9 seconds sealed the win for UST to improve to 3-3.
“Yung killer instinct namin, kailangan namin i-check,” said UST Head Coach Ariel Dela Cruz, regarding the team’s win despite LPU’s comeback attempt. “Nag-relax kami. But good thing we were able to recover through our veterans.”
Daquioag led the Growling Tigers with 16 points, while Kent Lao had 15 points by shooting four triples. Kakonda, despite scoring only eight markers, hauled down 12 rebounds. Mbida and Baltazar paced LPU, now with a 1-5 record, with 21 and 13, respectively.
UST will face Southwestern University Cobras next Wednesday, June 3, at 1:30 PM, while Lyceum will face Mapua Institute of Technology Cardinals this Friday, may 29, also at 1:30.
UST 72 – Daquioag 16, Lao 15, Bonleon 8, Kakonda 8, Ferrer 7, Magno 5, Lee 4, Sheriff 3, Huang 2, Faundo 2, Caunan 2.
LPU 66 – Mbida 21, Baltazar 13, Bulawan 11, Alanes 7, Soliman 4, Marata 4, Taladua 2, Ayaay 2, Malabanan 2.
|UST (B, 3-3)||25||38||59||72|
|LPU (B, 1-5)||17||33||48||66|