University of Santo Tomas guns for the title while De La Salle University tries to force a winner-take-all showdown when the two teams meet today in Game 2 of the UAAP men’s basketball championship series.
The Growling Tigers enter the Araneta Coliseum court at 4 p.m. with a 1-0 edge over the Green Archers, having won a 73-72 cliffhanger last Wednesday.
“We owe this win to the students, alumni, officials who support us in this battle. The crowd really pumped the players up in Game 1 and we’re hoping for their continuous support until the end,” said Tigers head coach Pido Jarencio, who wants to steer UST to its 19th UAAP basketball title.
UST made history by being the only No. 4 team to oust the No. 1 squad in the Final Four. It beat National University twice in the Final Four (71-62, 76-69) to advance to the finals.
If it wins today, UST will also share with Far Eastern University the distinction of having the most number of titles with 19.
To accomplish that mission, skipper Jeric Teng, Cameroonian Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano and Kevin Ferrer must again carry the scoring load for the Tigers, who will be up against a La Salle team that is expected to play with a do-or-die determination to force a deciding Game 3.
Ferrer finished Wednesday’s game with 20 points, the center Abdul had 19 and Teng contributed 17 to give UST the offensive push to hold off La Salle.
The Archers will be bannered by Almond Vosotros, Jeron Teng, Arnold Van Opstal and Jason Perkins who all scored in double figures in Game 1.
La Salle is looking to duplicate its thrilling conquest of UST in 1999.
During that time, UST also took the Game 1 (62-60) but La Salle came back in Game 2 (81-74).
Game 3 went into overtime and La Salle outlasted UST to win, 78-75 and clinch the title.