MANILA, Philippines — Heart of a Growling Tiger.
University of Santo Tomas leaned on massive 3-pointers to escape Far Eastern University, 79-78, in double overtime in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament on Sunday, September 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
After giving up a double-digit lead at halftime, the Tamaraws leaned on role players Gryann Mendoza, Anthony Hargrove and Roger Pogoy to come back from a 7-point deficit in the final quarter to take a 62-59 lead with 7.4 seconds remaining.
But Aljon Mariano drained a triple with 4.9 seconds on the clock to tie it at 62-all and force overtime.
After Karim Abdul put the Growling Tigers up, 64-62, early in the extra period, FEU went on an 8-3 run to build a 70-67 advantage with 2:04 left.
Both teams could not convert in ensuing possessions and with the Tamaraws seemingly headed for the win, Clark Bautista drilled in a 3-pointer with 10.9 seconds remaining to knot the count anew at 70-all.
Kevin Ferrer opened the second overtime with two free-throws to make it 72-70 for UST before Mac Belo scored 6 straight points to bring FEU up, 76-72, with less than two minutes left on the clock.
Abdul and Mariano then starred in a 7-0 burst that culminated in an Abdul and-one play that gave the Tigers a 79-76 advantage with 32.3 seconds remaining.
Mike Tolomia drew the Tamaraws closer to 79-78 but Belo was blocked by Abdul in the final play as UST ran away with its 6th win in 11 outings.
On the other hand, FEU dropped to 8-4 and surrendered the tournament lead for the first time this season.
Abdul led the Tigers with 24 points, 12 rebonds and two blocks while Mariano churned out an all-around performance with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists as UST posted its second straight win.
Terrence Romeo paced the Tamaraws with 19 points and 7 boards. – Rappler.com