Kevin Ferrer delivers under pressure as UST Tigers pull off thrilling win over UP Maroons in preseason
Fresh from his stint with the national team in the SEABA tournament, Kevin Ferrer was quick to come to UST's rescue in a thrilling win over University of the Philippines. Dante Peralta

KEVIN Ferrer encountered little pressure playing for Gilas Cadets in the international stage, yet he immediately thrived in a pressure-packed situation upon his return with University of Santo Tomas in a preseason tournament.

Coming off a stint with the national team in the Southeast Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship in Singapore, the Growling Tigers star shone in his collegiate comeback by hitting the marginal three-pointer in a 76-72 win over University of the Philippines in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup on Wednesday.

“Yung mga natutunan ko sa national team, ina-apply ko dito,” said Ferrer, who finished with 19 points, seven boards, three assists, and one block in 32 minutes of action.

“Tinuturo ko rin naman sa mga teammates ko, hindi naman ako selfish eh,” he added with a smile. “Para lahat kami umangat, hindi lang ako.”

Delivering under pressure was definitely not one of the things Ferrer learned when he suited up for Gilas, which dominated the SEABA tournament by coming away with an average winning margin of 68.4 points in five games.

But the versatile forward showed it anyway as he capped his all-around performance by hitting a contested left-corner triple that gave the Tigers a 71-70 lead with under a minute left.

“Composure lang sa amin,” Ferrer said. “Hindi kami nagmadali. Nasa amin pa rin yung kumpiyansa.”

“Gusto ko maging good example sa mga rookies namin,” he added.

“Team na niya ‘to this year, siya na ang King Tiger, so he has to improve lahat,” UST coach Bong dela Cruz said of Ferrer. “He has to lead this team.”

The Tigers’ go-to guy is trying to make the most out of his short time with UST as he rejoins the national team bound for Singapore anew for the Southeast Asian Games two weeks from now.

Ferrer will suit up for the Tigers for one last time before the SEA Games in their game against Centro Escolar University on Saturday.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @KarloSacamos