University of Santo Tomas (UST) capitalized on a third quarter run to outlast De La Salle University 77-61 and gain a share of the lead in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Wednesday.
After trailing behind 31-33 at halftime, the Growling Tigers headed by Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil and Janus Suarez initiated a blitz in the third period to vanish the deficit. By the start of the fourth period, UST is leading 60-46.
UST’s main gunner Kevin Ferrer notched 12 of his 17 points in the final quarter in addition to six rebounds. The Growling Tigers are now sharing the no.1 spot with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws that are also bearing a 5-1 win-loss record.
“We executed well our defense and our offense followed. Everybody stepped up in this game,” said UST coach Bong Dela Cruz. “When they [La Salle] tried to get back, we just focused on our defense again.”
“We keep improving every game and first round isn’t through yet. We just need to play hard every game,” he added.
Cameroonian Karim Abdul posted 13 points and 13 rebounds plus three steals, Daquioag had 11 points and six rebounds and Vigil contributed 10 points for the Growling Tigers. Suarez finished with nine points also for UST.
UST scored more three-point shots than La Salle 11-6.
The Green Archers’ win-loss record dropped to 3-3.
Jeron Teng led La Salle with 13 points and nine rebounds.
In the first game, Ateneo De Manila University beat the University of the Philippines (UP) 56-43, improving its record to 4-2.
It was the Fighting Maroons fourth consecutive defeat
The Blue Eagles banked on their rock-solid defense in the first half to limit UP to a mere 17 points at halftime.
The Blue Eagles were leading 36-17 at halftime and were never threatened from that point onward.
Kiefer Ravena finished with 11 points plus 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals while guard Von Pessumal contributed 11 points.
“It is a good bounce-back win for us,” said Ateneo coach Bo Perasol, referring to Ateneo’s last loss against UST. “We need to learn how to close out games.”
Andres Desiderio posted 12 points and eight rebounds to lead UP.