UST's Jeric Teng carries the leather in their game against the National University Bulldogs.| Photo by Monica Pantaleon, TomasinoWeb.
By Karl Cedrick G. Basco

They earned it in the hard way but nonetheless they are back again into the championship and will have the chance to complete another Cinderella-run story.

The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers proved again that they are the comeback kings in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament as they ousted the top-seeded National University Bulldogs, 76-69, in their winner-take-all semi-finals match up at the Mall of Asia Arena today.

The Tigers registered another history: the first number four seeded-team to eliminate the best team of the eliminations who also guaranteed a twice-to-beat advantage. 

UST was down by two as Robin Roño buried a trey in the 6:08 mark of the final quarter, 59-61, when they sparked an 11-0 run including a three by the Kevin Ferrer and capped by Jamil Sheriff’s steal and a lay-up to pull away for good against NU, 70-61, 46 seconds left in the ticks.

Team Captain Jeric Teng and Kevin Ferrer spearheaded the Tigers tallying 19 and 18 points, respectively, while Aljon Mariano contributed 12 of his own with 10 boards for UST’s rally back to the finals.

The España-based squad established a ten-point margin in a three-point play by Teng less than three minutes left in the second canto, 29-19, but the Bulldogs ignited a 12-0 salvo with Gelo Alolino draining two triple while Emmanuel Mbe dominated the paint to steal the lead, 31-29.

Meanwhile, the big guys of the Tigers plunged into early foul troubles with Karim Abdul registered his third and Paulo Pe received his fourth foul in the first 20 minutes of action.

Bobby Ray Parks scored 15 points but was scoreless in the pay-off period while Mbe and Alolino added 10 apiece for the losing efforts. NU ended their campaign with another bronze finish.

UST will face the De La Salle University Green Archers in a best-of-three championship series on October 2, Wednesday 3:30 P.M. at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum. 


UST 76- Teng-19, Ferrer-18, Mariano-12, Bautista-8, Sheriff-6, Abdul-6, Daquioag-3, Lo-2, Pe-1, Lao-1, Hainga-0

NU 69- Parks-15, Mbe-10, Alolino-10, Javelona-9, Villamor-8, Rosario-6, Roño-6, Khobuntin-3, Javillonar-2, Porter-0, Neypes-0, Alejandro-0

Quarter scores: 19-10, 31-31, 50-49, 76-69

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