ALJON MARIANO buried the marginal jumper as University of Santo Tomas survived two overtime periods against La Salle, 84-82, on Saturday in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the MOA Arena.
Mariano gave himself a belated gift a day after turning 20, converting a left corner jumper over Yutien Andrada with 7.1 seconds left to lift the Tigers to the pulsating win, their third victory in four games to gain third spot in the standings. The Archers suffered their third consecutive defeat and dropped to a 2-3 win-loss card.
The Green Archers’ last chance ended in failure with UST’s Cameroonian center Karim Abdul blocking Andrada’s short stab and LA Revilla’s desperation shot with 0.6 seconds remaining hitting nothing but air.
The game could have easily gone the other way in regulation after LA Revilla's running shot was thrown up just a fraction of a second too late.
Norbert Torres sent the game into a second overtime with a sweeping lay-up with 33 seconds to play but the Growling Tigers withstood La Salle’s attack in the extra sessions to capture the win.
“I think ’yung attitude na pinasok ko sa mga players, yun ang pinakamatibay na naituro ko sa kanila, ’yung hindi bibigay,” said UST’s Pido Jarencio, a picture of a tired but relieved head coach during his postgame interview.
“Mataas ang kumpiyansa ng team pero sobrang pagod,” Jarencio kidded.
Tata Bautista scored a career-high 21 points including 11 in the third period while Abdul had 16 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.
But Mariano took charge when needed most in the late goings, scoring all but two of UST’s 13 points over the defense of Andrada in the overtime period to finish with 15 points.
“By design ’yung kay Aljon. Sinabi ng mga assistant coaches ko na hanapin natin si Aljon dahil nakita namin na may slight advantage siya kay Andrada,” Jarencio said.
Revilla led La Salle with 19 points.
UST 84—Bautista 21, Abdul 16, Mariano 15, Teng 9, Fortuna 8, Afuang 8, Ferrer 5, Pe 2, Lo 0, Daquioag 0.
DLSU 82—Revilla 19, Teng 17, Andrada 16, Webb 13, N. Torres 7, Manguera 6, Van Opstal 2, Tallo 2, T. Torres 0, Dela Paz 0.
Quarterscores: 15-17; 29-30; 56-48; 71-71; 80-80; 84-82.