University of Santo Tomas (UST) forced a do-or-die Game 3 by beating Far Eastern University (FEU) 62-56 on Saturday in Game 2 of the best-of-three championship round of University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 78 men’s basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum.
Kevin Ferrer scored 24 of his total 29 points in the third quarter in addition to 10 rebounds and two assists while Cameroonian Karim Abdul and guard Ed Daquioag finished with 11 points and 10 points, respectively.
“Positive and relaxed,” said Ferrer, who shot 9-of-18 in the field. “We just enjoyed the game. I felt during halftime that I’m going to make my shots in the second half. I was happy that my teammates trusted me.”
“Let’s smile and enjoy the game. We were motivated by former coach Pido Jarencio at the dugout during halftime. We followed our game plan well and it’s our mental toughness that led us in this victory,” UST coach Bong Dela Cruz told reporters during a post-game interview.
Mac Belo led FEU with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Roger Pogoy contributed 12 points.
UST performed better than FEU beyond the arc (8-4) and in overall shooting (29.69— 27.12 percent).
FEU controlled the game in the first half taking a 30-21 lead at halftime. But UST initiated a 26-11 rally highlighted by Ferrer’s accurate shooting in the third period. The Growling Tigers seized the lead at the start of the fourth period 47-41.
Although they struggled in the fourth quarter and was threatened by FEU’s comeback in the last four minutes, the Growling Tigers employed tight defense to spoil the Tamaraws’ early victory celebration.
FEU won Game One, 75-64, last Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
UST’s Ferrer, La Salle’s forward Jeron Teng, Ateneo’s guard Kiefer Ravena, UST’s Daquioag and National University’s Alfred Aroga were named as this year’s Mythical Five.
Ravena, who averaged 18.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game this season, received his back-to-back Most Valuable Player trophy. Daquioag won the Most Improved Player of the season plum while Andrei Caracut took the Rising Star Player of the season honor.
The other awardees were Ferrer (Level Up player award), Teng (Galing Player of the season), Ravena (Master Gwapo award) and Belo (Bankable Player of the season).