UST leans on Daquioag’s career game to get past UE
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ed Daquioag was close to unstoppable in the fourth quarter and the UST Growling Tigers held on to their lead down the stretch to get past the UE Red Warriors, 83-76, for the top spot in the UAAP Season 78 senior’s basketball league standings after the first round of the eliminations on Wednesday, October 7, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Daquioag finished with a career-high of 34 points - 12 coming in the final period - to go with 6 assists and 4 rebounds. It was the most points scored by a UST player since former UAAP MVP Dylan Ababou registered 30 points in 2009.
Kevin Ferrer also played well with 14 points and 5 rebounds, while Louie Vigil accounted for 14 points and 7 boards in UST’s fourth straight victory.
UE, who was led by the career-high 25 points of Paul Varilla, lost their fourth straight game.
“Inspired lang today dahil siguro sa suporta na binibigay saakin nang family ko sa province, then sa girlfriend ko, then sa mga kaibigan ko,” Daquioag, who shot 14-of-23 from the field, said after the game.
(I was just inspired today maybe because of the support of my family in the province, then because of my girlfriend, then because of my friends.)
“Hindi na ako nagtataka,” his head coach Bong Dela Cruz said about his star player’s performance. “Natural na sakanya yun.” (I don’t doubt. It comes natural to him.)
UST maintained a comfortable lead for most of the game until UE rallied at the end of the third period, trimming the deficit to 60-56 after 30 minutes of play.
The game went down the wire, with back to back baskets by Emil Palma slicing the Growling Tigers’ lead to 73-71 with 1:35 left in the contest.
UE managed to get a stop, but failed to convert on two possessions to take the lead. After they fouled Daquioag and he split his charities, the UST veteran converted a tough layup the next time he had the ball to put his team ahead 76-71 with 44 seconds left.
“Ako nalang nag take over. At lagi namin sinasabni ni coach na pag dating nang end game, kunin ko yung bola,” Daquioag said post-game. (I just decided to take over. And coach always says that when it comes to the end of the game, I should get the ball.)
Palma then missed a jumper, and Vigil sealed the win on the succeeding play with an basket, plus the foul, 79-71.
Karim Abdul also played well in the win with 9 points and 10 boards, while Chris Javier scored 12 points for UE. Palma and De Leon put up 8 points each.
The Growling Tigers shot 49% from the field and 33% from long range, but did struggle at the free throw line where they went 25-of-40, and committed 21 turnovers.
UE also struggled from the field, hitting just 38% of their shots, including 26% from downtown.
The win improves UST’s record to 6-1, the first time they’ve started a UAAP season like that since 2012 when they made the finals and lost to the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
UE’s record drops to 2-5, putting them even further below the Final Four race.
“Lahat nang teams, nag pre-prepare, so ganon rin kami. One game at a time. Every game, every practice, paghahandain namin,” Dela Cruz said about his team’s upcoming games.
(All teams prepare, so we also do the same. Every game, every practice, we’ll get ready for it.)
The Growling Tigers will be back in action when they take on the DLSU Green Archers, while UE will have to deal with the NU Bulldogs this weekend.
UST (83): Daquioag 34, Ferrer 14, Vigil 14, Abdul 9, Sheriff 5, Lee 5, Lao 2, Abdurasad 0, Bonleon 0, Caunan 0, Faundo 0, Garrido 0, Subido 0.
UE (76): Varilla 25, Javier 12, De Leon 8, Palma 8, Batiller 8, Charcos 5, Sta Ana 4, Abanto 3, Derige 2, Gagate 2, Manalang 2, Gonzales 0, Penuela 0 Yu 0.
Quarter scores: 26-12, 44-33, 60-56, 83-76.