UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas avoided a winless season as the Growling Tigers gutted out an 88-85 win over University of the East on Sunday in the UAAP Season 80 basketball tournament at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Growling Tigers hugged head coach Boy Sablan after the game after scoring their lone win of the season, on the final day of the eliminations.
Regie Boy Basibas and Steve Akomo led UST’s attack as the Growling Tigers started out strong.
UST took a 23-9 lead in the first period and thwarted numerous UE rallies to finish with a 1-13 record.
Basibas finished with 21 points, hitting a triple that gave UST a 71-67 lead midway through the fourth.
Akomo added 18 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks for the Growling Tigers, who were up five, 84-79, with 54.4 seconds left after two free throws by Basibas.
Sablan said he was proud of the team’s effort as well as the attitude of the players.
“Masaya kasi hindi kami na-zero and at the same time, eto ’yung part ng rebuilding process namin, ’yung transition from two coaches na dumaan which is may pinanggalingang hindi maganda,” said Sablan.
“Kailangan mabago ’yun. Kailangan dun simulan, ’yung mga loob nila. ’Yung pinagdaanan nila, maisayos muna natin. May mga problema nung mga nakaraan bago ako dumating. ’Yun ang inuna ko. Kaya ’yung mga bata, kahit saan makarating, maayos na mga bata, hindi makikipag-away, hindi makikipag-gulo,” he added.
Eric Caunan had 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Marvin Lee tallied 11 points.
Christian Garcia scored all his 10 points in the third quarter including a triple and a lay-up that brought UST’s lead to 53-42.
The Red Warriors ended the eliminations with a 3-10 win-loss record, matching last year’s mark.
UST 88 – Basibas 21, Akomo 18, Caunan 14, Lee 11, Garcia 10, De Guzman 6, Sta. Ana 4, Macasaet 2, Escalambre 2, Faundo 0, Huang 0, Romero 0.
UE 85 – Pasaol 18, Varilla 16, Maloles 15, Conner 10, Acuno 8, Manalang 7, Cullar 7, Olayon 2, Bartolome 2, Derige 0.
Quarterscores: 23-15; 43-39; 63-61; 88-85.