MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) — This one’s for Jeric Teng.
With the absence of their skipper and leader, the Growling Tigers got a huge lift from their new “Big 3” to turn back hard-fighting University of the East, 88-77, in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Saturday, July 13 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano and Ed Daquioag each delivered the best performance of their collegiate careers, combining for 68 points, 29 rebounds and 13 assists as UST nabbed solo second place with a 3-1 record.
“Speechless ako kasi yung mga bata gustong manalo para kay Jeric,” said Tigers’ head coach Pido Jarencio. “I give credit sa mga bata kasi nag-step-up sila.”
Teng, who is recuperating from a shoulder injury, was in street clothes but his absence was hardly felt as Abdul (25 points, 13 rebounds), Mariano (24 points, 11 rebounds) and Daquioag (19 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists) had their way against UE’s defense.
Tied at the half at 34-all, both squads battled nip-and-tuck before UST gained some headway going into the final quarter behind the efforts of Mariano, Abdul, Kevin Ferrer and Tata Bautista.
UE’s wily playmaker Roi Sumang rifled in 8 straight points in the payoff period on two booming triples to push the Warriors to within 67-66, with 6:33 left.
Ivan Hernandez scored an alley-op off a perfect pass from Sumang to give UE the lead, 71-70.
A split from Ralf Olivares at the free throw line knotted the game for one last time at 74-all before the Tigers went on a 10-0 binge courtesy of Abdul, Mariano, and Daquioag to make it 84-74 with less than a minute remaining on the clock.
UE would score for the last time as unheralded Dan Alberto sank a trey but that proved to be too little too late as Daquioag and Mariano closed the game with 4 consecutive points to peg the final count, 88-77.
“Lahat silang lima sa court ay nag-step-up,” added Jarencio. “Ilang araw na akong walang tulog e kaka-isip (kasi) nawalan ako ng leader sa team.”
Sumang paced the Red Warriors with 21 points while Olivares chipped in 15 for UE, who slid further down the standings with a 1-3 record.– Rappler.com