Tigers fashion out gutsy OT win vs Bulldogs
MANILA, Philippines — University of Santo Tomas pulled off a tight 87-74 overtime thriller over National University to bounce back in the 82 UAAP men's basketball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rhenz Abando found the right time to wake up, scoring seven points in the final 1:32 of regulation before burying two pressure-packed triples in the extra frame to complete the Growling Tigers' comeback.
The high-flying forward finished with 21 points, six rebounds and two assists as UST fought back from a five-point hole, 68-63, with 42.3 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
Defense did it for the Growling Tigers, forcing two crucial turnovers from that point on leading to Zach Huang's split from the line knotting the score at 68.
Enzo Joson atoned for his miscues, scoring the go-ahead lay-up with 6.5 seconds left, but Soulemane Chabi Yo tied the game anew at 70 with a tough lay-in with 2.1 ticks remaining.
Dave Ildefonso's heave could not find its mark as the game went to overtime.
"Buti bumuhos pa rin yung mga bata especially sa last six seconds. While our opponents were celebrating, we're able to convert and force it to overtime," said coach Aldin Ayo.
Riding that wave of momentum, UST just pulled away in the extension as NU unraveled, leading to Ildefonso fouling out with 2:52 left and Abando's second trey putting his side up, 81-73 with 2:37 remaining.
"Sinwerte kami sa dulo," said Ayo. "We did not play our game sa first three and a half quarters pero buti nag-pick up kami sa last five minutes ng fourth quarter."
Chabi Yo led the Growling Tigers with 23 points, 20 rebounds and four assists, while Sherwin Concepcion got 13 points and six rebounds.
UST rose to 3-1 in the standings despite committing 25 turnovers in the affair.
It was another heartbreaker for the Bulldogs, which stayed at the bottom of the barrel at 0-3.
Ildefonso led NU with 16 points and six rebounds, as John Lloyd Clemente had 12 points and seven boards.
UST 87 — Chabi Yo 23, Abando 21, Concepcion 13, Nonoy 9, Subido 7, Paraiso 6, Huang 5, Cansino 3, Ando 0, Bataller 0, Cuajao 0.
NU 74 — D. Ildefonso 16, Clemente 11, Joson 10, S. Ildefonso 9, Gaye 6, Oczon 5, Galinato 3, Mangayao 2, Gallego 0, Mosqueda 0, Rangel 0.
Quarterscores: 21-16, 30-31, 47-52, 70-70, 87-74.