CAMEROONIAN slotman Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano, and Edward Daquioag stepped up big in the absence of injured star Jeric Teng as University of Santo Tomas turned back a tough University of the East side, 88-77 in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Abdul banged in a new league career-high of 25 points and 13 rebounds, Mariano added a personal season-best 24, while Daquiaog established his new career-high of 19 as the trio sparked a whirlwind finish by the Growling Tigers to regain solo second spot with their 3-1 record.
“Yung mga bata gusto nila manalo for Jeric. Naging positive sila,” said a beaming UST coach Pido Jarencio afterwards.
“Madali nakapag-adjust sa plays namin ang mga bata dahil at least alam namin kanino babagsak ang bola,” he added.
Teng, the high-scoring Santo Tomas guard, sat out the game after hurting his shoulder in the Tigers’ game against National University the last time.
Other than the offensive firepower displayed by Abdul, Mariano, and Daquioag, defense also played a big part for UST as it held UE to just one field goal in the last three minutes, a useless three-point shot from Dan Alberto during the dying seconds of the game.
The Tigers closed out the game strong with a 14-3 run to clinch the win.
Jarencio said the Tigers took advantage of UE big man Charles Mammie’s absence by putting the ball at the post.
The 6-foot-7 Abdul readily capitalized by repeatedly attacking the basket with powerful post moves, lay-ups and putbacks to the delight of Jarencio and the huge number of UST supporters.
“Yun ang ine-exploit namin,” Jarencio said, referring to Mammie’s absence.
The Sierra Leone native served a one-game suspension after committing his second unsportsmanlike foul with an intention to hurt during the Red Warriors’ 71-78 loss to the Adamson Falcons on Wednesday.
A second unsportsmanlike foul with an intention to hurt merits an automatic one-game suspension, according to UAAP rules.
Mariano also had a breakout game as he easily surpassed his combined 20-point output in his first three games this season.
The Warriors absorbed their second straight loss to drop at 1-3 in the standings.
UST (88) -- Abdul 25, Mariano 24, Daquioag 19, Ferrer 9, Bautista 8, So 3, Tan 0, Pe 0, Lo 0, Marata 0.
UE (77) -- Sumang 21, Olivarez 15, Javier 10, Casajeros 9, Santos 6, Sumido 3, Jumao-as 3, Hernandez 3, Alberto 3, Noble 2, Flores 2, Galanza 0.
Quarter scores: 16-10; 34-34; 63-56; 88-77.