De La Salle University and University of Santo Tomas (UST) will be disputing the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 76 men’s basketball crown when the deciding Game 3 of their best-of-three championship series unfolds today at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The La Salle-UST game is scheduled at 3 p.m. The Growling Tigers won in Game 1, 73-72, but the Green Archers equalize with a 77-70 victory in Game 2.
La Salle looks to duplicate its 2-1 win against UST in 1999. That time, the Growling Tigers also won in Game 1 (62-60) but the Green Archers bounced back in Game 2 (81-74) and Game 3 (78-75 overtime) to win the crown. La Salle last won a title in 2007 against University of the East, 2-0 (64-63, 73-64).
UST, for its part, is the only fourth-seeded team that advanced to the finals. The Growling Tigers beat the No. 1 squad National University (71-62, 76-69) in the Final Four.
The Growling Tigers are aiming notch their 19th title overall to join Far Eastern University on top of the overall list of “winningest team” in the league. UST dominated the 2006 edition by beating Ateneo de Manila University, 2-1 (72-73, 87-71, 76-74).
All eyes will be on Teng brothers – Jeron of La Salle and Jeric of UST—the top scorers of both teams in Game 2.
Jeron buried 19 points, hauled down nine rebounds, dished out four assists and grabbed three steals in their last game. Center Norbert Torres, 6-foot-7 Arnold Van Opstal and sharp shooter Almond Vosotros are also expected to showcase solid games.
Torres had 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks while Van Opstal posted 13 points and 13 boards for La Salle. Vosotros added 11 markers.
“We worked on some improvements and I’m hoping that the players will make some adjustments on whatever plan UST will utilize on the game itself,” said La Salle head coach Juno Sauler.
UST team captain Jeric was also pumped up in Game 2, scoring 28 and points and three rebounds. Cameroonian Karim Abdul contributed 13 points and nine boards but Aljon Mariano and Kevin Ferrern were limited to single-digit output.
Mariano finished with nine points while Ferrer had a measly six-point production, far from the 20 points he delivered in Game 1.
“We’re fresh going into the Game 3. We’ll be going all out,” stressed UST mentor Pido Jarencio.
For the record, the Teng brothers were teammates at Xavier School in 2009 when Jeric was in senior level while Jeron was on his freshman year. Xavier ruled the Metro Manila Tiong Lian Basketball Association that time.