ED Daquioag scored 27 points to lead University of Santo Tomas to a 67-59 win over University of the Philippines, wresting the solo lead in the UAAP Season 78 seniors basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Earning M-V-P chants from the UST crowd in the final moments of the game, Daquiaog contributed 17 points in the final period alone, helping the Growling Tigers hold off the Maroons for their third straight win to start to the season.
UP fell to 2-1 (win-loss) following its best start in a decade.
“’Yung confidence niya is very high,” said UST coach Bong Dela Cruz of Daquiaog. “He is just enjoying the game.”
Kevin Ferrer added 16 points for the Tigers, who posted their best start since 1999 by winning their 17th consecutive game against UP.
“Iba na ‘yung nakaka-una ka,” said Dela Cruz.
But the story of the game was Daquiaog, a veteran guard with a cool and calm demeanor who once again came through in the clutch for the Growling Tigers.
The hard-nosed guard nailed a three-pointer that put UST ahead, 51-44, a cushion good enough for the Tigers to put the game away.
Diego Dario had 15 points while Paul Desiderio added 12 points for the Fighting Maroons, who struggled in the first half shooting 23 percent from the field including a measly four-point output in the first period.
UP came alive in the second half, pulling within 54-57 with 1:03 left in the fourth game before Daquioag nailed clutch free throws in the end game.
UST (67) — Daquiaog 27, Ferrer 16, Abdul 8, Subido 4, Vigil 4, Bonleon 3, Lee 3, Sheriff 2, Huang 0, Lao 0, Suarez 0.
UP (59) — Dario 15, Desiderio 12, Manuel 9, Kone 6, Gallarza 5, Moralde 4, Juruena 3, Vito 3, Lim 2, Amar 0, Asilum 0, Harris 0, Jaboneta 0, Longa 0, Prado 0.
Quarterscores: 10-4, 21-15, 42-40, 67-59.