Alvin Pasaol had another explosive scoring game but this time, he got plenty of help and more importantly, University of the East (UE) got the victory.
Coming off a career-high 49 points against De La Salle, Pasaol delivered a 32-point performance including a crucial putback late in the game as the Red Warriors held off University of Santo Tomas, 96-91, to bag their first victory in Season 80 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
In a battle of the remaining winless teams of the tournament, UE came out with more resolve and determination in ending its losing streak with Pasaol, who broke scoring record in their 100-106 loss to the Green Archers last Wednesday, again leading the charge of the Recto-based cagers.
“We got our confidence against La Salle that’s why we won today,” said Pasaol, who now totaled 81 points in his last two games. He had a combined 76 in UE’s first five outings.
Philip Manalang added 20 while Mark Olayon and Jason Varilla each had 15 markers for the Red Warriors, who controlled the game from the get go before UST unleashed a rally that fell short to end the first round with a 0-7 win-loss record.
“The boys really played hard. In our first five games, we didn’t play as a team. I did not see the UE team that I saw in practice in our first five games. And our effort against La Salle was our springboard coming into this game,” said Red Warriors head coach Derrick Pumaren.
“I’m happy the guys responded when UST made the comeback. We did not fold up. We did not lose our composure,” Pumaren added.
Behind Steve Akomo, Marvin Lee and Eric Caunan, the Growling Tigers managed to slice UE’s double-digit lead in the third period and enter the final canto trailing 71-75.
It was a see-saw battle since then and UST even tied the game at 85-all on Jeepy Faundo’s split with 3:21 left in the game.
Pasaol and Olayon gave UE some breathing room with back-to-back baskets, 89-85, but the Growling Tigers threatened anew at 91-92, under a minute left in the game.
UST got a shot to lead for the first time when Jordan Sta. Ana stole the pass of Varilla but Olayon blocked Lee’s three-point attempt and Pasaol followed up Olayon’s muffed lay-up for a 94-91 lead, 22.7 ticks remaining.
The Growling Tigers went to Lee for a possible game-tying triple but the UST guard lost control of the ball and Manalang sealed the win with two free throws.
Lee led the Growling Tigers with 20 points while Akomo added 19 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks but missed a couple of crucial free throws in crunch time. UST was 17-of-38 from the free throw area.
Sta. Ana and Faundo chipped in 13 and 12 markers, respectively for the Growling Tigers, who have now lost their last 11 games dating back Season 79.
In the second game, Adamson University notched its fourth straight win after dismantling Far Eastern University (FEU), 95-79, to finish its first-round campaign with a 5-2 win-loss mark.
The Soaring Falcons were off to quick start, erecting a 61-40 halftime lead that they never relinquished as the Tamaraws failed to get their rhythm and composure with Arvin Tolentino getting ejected in the second half after incurring two unsportsmanlike fouls.
Jerrick Ahanmisi and Jonathan Espeleta each had 17 points while Papi Sarr and Jerie Pingoy posted double-double games for Adamson, which grabbed the solo third spot.
Sarr had 14 points and 14 rebounds while Pingoy netted 10 markers and 10 assists in a highly physical contest.
Jasper Parker and Ron Dennison led the misfiring Tamaraws, which dropped to 4-3.
ADAMSON 95 – Ahanmisi 17, Espeleta 17, Sarr 14, Manalang 11, Pingoy 10, Bernardo 8, Manganti 7, Hill 6, Ochea 3, Lojera 2, Mustre 0, Camacho 0, Chua 0
FEU 79 – Parker 12, Dennison 11, Cani 8, Ramirez 8, Escoto 8, Tolentino 7, Tuffin 7, Orizu 5, Comboy 5, Ebona 4, Inigo 2, Stockton 2, Trinidad 0
QUARTER SCORES: 29-19, 61-40, 79-61, 95-79