University of Santo Tomas (UST) survived University of the East (UE), 83-76, to gain the top spot after first round of elimination on Wednesday in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Veteran Ed Daquioag fired 34 points, hauled down four rebounds, dished out six assists and had a steal to tow the Growling Tigers to an impressive 6-1 win-loss record. It was the team’s best start since 2012.“I just set my mind. My goal is to go PBA and I need to play on a higher level,” said Daquioag. “Kanina parang nag-kaniya kaniya kami, kailangan na makapuntos. Si Kevin [Ferrer] foul troubled na kaya ako na ang nag-takeover. Lagi sinasabi ni coach pagdating ng endgame kunin ko yung bola.” Southeast Asian Games veteran Kevin Ferrer and Louie Vigil contributed 14 points each while Cameroonian Karim Abdul scored nine markers and grabbed 10 boards, and Marvin Lee and Sheak Sheriff added five apiece. “Hindi na ako nagtataka sa performance ni Ed. Summer pa lang [last year]nakita ko na ito unfortunately last year may injury siya then ‘nung summer this year nakita ko na siya [maglaro]. Natural na sa kaniya,” said Growling Tigers head coach Bong Dela Cruz. The Red Warriors absorbed their fifth loss in seven outings with Paul Varilla leading the squad with 25 points and eight rebounds and team captain Chris Javier delivering 12 points and five boards. UE’s scoring machine Edison Batiller was limited to five points on 3-of-16 poor shooting clip from the field. The Red Warriors were able to convert 17 points off UST’s 21 turnovers but the Growling Tigers connected 25 of their 40 free throw attempts. “UE kept on pressing. That’s their game plan that resulted to a lot of turnovers for us. May mga runs sila, makakakuha sila ng six points straight kailangan lang naming maka-recover para mabawian namin sila,” added Dela Cruz.
In the night cap, last year’s runner-up Far Eastern University posted a thrilling 61-59 win over defending champion National University (NU) to join UST on top of the standings with a 6-1 card.
Mike Tolomia led the Tamaraws with 19 points.
“Before the game, I told them that this is just another game that we need to play correctly. It’s a good feeling that we beat the defending champions,” said FEU mentor Nash Racela.
NU’s record fell to 3-4.
In badminton, Ateneo de Manila University assured itself of a podium finish in the men’s division after a thrilling 3-2 squeaker over University of the Philippines in the first step-ladder semifinals match at the Rizal Memorial Badminton Hall. Hans Bernardo’s 21-11, 21-18 decision over Carl Clemente in the third singles gave the Blue Eagles’ the victory. The next stage of the step-ladder, Ateneo, the Season 76 titlists, will face twice-to-beat La Salle on Saturday at 8 a.m.? The winner in the semifinals will take on defending champion National University in the title round next week. The Bulldogs are holding the thrice-to-beat advantage after sweeping all seven ties in the eliminations. The Green Archers, last season’s runner-up, finished No. 2 in the eliminations with a 6-1 record.