TATA Bautista capped University of Santo Tomas’ fightback from 17-points down by hitting the game-winning basket over Letran, 78-77, in the Filoil Flying V Pre Season Hanes Cup at The Arena in San Juan on Saturday.
Bautista was left open by the Knights’ defense in the final 3.7 seconds, enabling him to score the basket that lifted the Tigers – playing their second game is as many days - to the rousing win.
Bautista's game-winner highlighted a big comeback after UST found itself trailing, 52-69, in the fourth quarter.
“Down kami by 17, sabi ko sa players ko, ang hindi dumepensa bakla,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio. “Ayun dumepensa sila kaya Heman (super hero) sila."
Jarencio later castigated players Karim Abdul and Aljon Mariano for coming late for the game. Abdul arrived during the second half, while Mariano came with a minute to go in the first quarter.
“Walang Nora Aunor (superstar) sa team ko. FPJ lang at ako yun,” said the coach.
Mariano sparked the Tigers’ comeback following a timeout behind nine straight unanswered points to cut the deficit to 61-69.
The Tigers then finished off the Knights with a 17-8 run to clinch the victory, their third in five outings for a tie with the Knights.
The Knights jumped into that huge lead when they outscored the Tigers in the third quarter, 22-9.
“Nagkagulo kasi kami, nagkanya-kanya sa play," said Bautista on their poor third quarter scoring. "Di na kami sumusunod kay coach Pido, pero buti na lang bumawi kami sa fourth quarter."
Mariano finished with 18 points, including seven in UST's 9-0 run in the fourth, while Bautista had 17 and Kevin Ferrer chipped 15 for the Tigers, who also beat San Sebastian on Friday, 83-79.
Raymond Almazan led Letran with 17 markers, while Mark Cruz and Jamil Gabawan produced 13, respectively.
UST (78) - Mariano 18, Bautista 17, Ferrer 15, Daquioag 9, Lo 6, Pe 4, Hainga 4, Tan 3, Gavia 2, Sheriff 0, Marata 0, Lao 0, Faundo 0.
Letran (77) - Almazan 17, Cruz 13, Gabawan 13, Nambatac 8, Buenaflor 7, Luib 6, Publico 4, Po 3, Castro 2, Ruaya 2, Dysam 2.
Quarterscores: 21-23; 43-39; 52-61; 78-77.