University of Santo Tomas needed two extra periods to put away Far Eastern University, 79-78, in UAAP men’s basketball Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Six-foot-seven Cameroonian center Karim Abdul and forward Aljon Mariano starred in the victory, the Growling Tigers’ sixth in 11 games.
Abdul, who blocked Tamaraws center Mark Belo’s potential game-winning basket with only few ticks left in second extension, finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks.
“I thought it would be an endless battle,” said UST mentor Pido Jarencio. “The players responded well to the challenges. It was a great victory.”
Mariano, who canned 21 points, tied the count at 62-all with a three-pointer in the last 4.9 seconds of regulation play.
Terrence Romeo, who scored 19 points for the Tamaraws, threw a desperate heave before the buzzer sounded that forced the first overtime.
FEU edged ahead 70-67 in the first overtime with only 10 seconds remaining, but UST’s Clark Bautista drained a three-pointer to make it 70-all.
Kevin Ferrer, who scattered 15 points and 13 rebounds with four assists, opened the second overtime with two free throws for a 72-70 UST lead, but Belo scored three straight baskets to hand FEU a 76-72 lead with less than two minutes left.
But the Growling Tigers won’t be denied as Abdul and Mariano scored the needed baskets to snatch the lead once again, 79-76, with only 32.3 seconds remaining. Mike Tolomia hit a basket to come within 78-79, but Abdul’s defensive presence saved UST.
FEU dropped to 8-4.
JOSEF T. RAMOS