SOUTHWESTERN University scored a landmark victory in closing out its Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup campaign after a 64-63 upset of UAAP men’s basketball tournament runner-up University of Santo Tomas on Saturday at The Arena in San Juan.
The Cobras played inspired ball a day after the resignation of their head coach Yayoy Alcoseba as they finished the eliminations with a 3-5 (win-loss) slate.
Melvin Holper scored five straight points for SWU including the go-ahead triple with 1:47 to play as the Cobras stayed on top for good, 62-59.
The Tigers had one final shot at a game-winning basket by Kevin Ferrer missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer.
“I credit that win to the good defense that we played,” said SWU assistant coach Mike Reyes. “When we came here, my main concern was to defend. And I guess it showed that we were able to defend one-on-one.”
The win came after Alcoseba submitted his resignation as SWU coach to concentrate on his political career as he is seeking election as member of Cebu's provincial board.
“Hindi pa kami nag-uusap. Ayoko muna masyado problemahin ‘yun. But (assistant coach Rocky Alcoseba) told them to dedicate this game to coach Yayoy,” said Reyes, brother of Gilas Pilipinas national head coach Chot Reyes.
Monbert Arong led the Cobras with 12 points as he took advantage of UST’s hole at the backcourt. Cameroonian Landry Sanjo also outplayed compatriot Karim Abdul to finish with 11 points, 14 rebounds, and three blocks.
But Holper played the hero’s role down the stretch, tying the game with a lay-up before scoring on an open triple that gave the Cobras a 62-59 lead.
Arong then split his two free throws after an unsportsmanlike foul was called on Aljon Mariano to make it 63-59.
UST continued to pressure as Ferrer hit a triple and trimmed SWU’s lead to a single point. But Jeric Teng only made one of two free throws that could have tied the game.
Arong was called for a traveling infraction with 10 seconds to play giving UST one more chance to map out a final play, only for Ferrer to miss his three-point shot.
SWU trailed at halftime, but opened the third quarter with 9-0 run to seize a 32-27 lead and set up the tightly-fought game.
SWU (64) – Arong 16, Sanjo 11, Holper 10, Mohammed 9, Bregondo 7, Panerio 4, Bautista 2, Siewe 2, Goloran 2, Otida 1, Escobio 0, Ortega 0, Pajantoy 0.
UST (63) – Ferrer 12, Abdul 12, Teng 10, Mariano 9, Lo 7, Bautista 5, Pe 4, Daquioag 4, Hainga 0, Marata 0, Tan 0.
Quarterscores: 12-13; 23-27; 47-45; 64-63.