University of Santo Tomas squeaked past De La Salle University, 73-72, to take a 1-0 lead in the UAAP best-of-three championship series on Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Power forward Kevin Ferrer scored 20 points while Cameroonian Karim Abdul had a double-double performance of 19 points and 12 boards for the Growling Tigers, who halted the Green Archers’ nine-game winning streak.
Skipper Jeric Teng chipped in 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
“We’re more relaxed coming into this game. Before the game, I just thought that we
really need to win and we’re just too lucky to get this one,” said Teng.
UST built an early 21-4 lead with Ferrer firing a couple of three-pointers. But La Salle came back to tie the game at 25-all in the middle of the second quarter.
The two teams fought to several deadlocks and lead changes before UST made crucial stops to claim the win.
“Breaks of the game. The match was even. We have nothing to lose in this series.
We’re from the bottom since the beginning of the season,” said UST head coach Pido Jarencio.
Almond Vosotros was La Salle top scorer with 20 points.
Game 2 is scheduled on Saturday also at the Araneta Coliseum.
In the women’s division, the National University (NU) Lady Bulldogs tied the series with a sweet 67-52 revenge over the La Salle Lady Archers in Game 2 of their own best-of-three championship series.
Andrea Tengco led the Lady Bulldogs with 23 points, a rebound, three assists and a steal while Afril Bernardino added 14 points and 11 rebounds. Anne Gupilan contributed 10 while Kristine Abriam and Joy Bonleon combined for 13.
Trisha Piatos paced the Lady Archers with 14 while Nicole Garcia was limited to eight and Ara Abaca got a measly six-point output.
The Lady Archers demolished the Lady Bulldogs in Game 1 via 72-48 victory on September 28. The Game 3 is on Saturday.