CJ Cansino picked his spots and his shooters made their shots as University of Santo Tomas rolled to its first win streak of UAAP Season 81 after beating University of the Philippines, 86-72, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The wire-to-wire victory wasn't what was expected from the Tigers, who over the weekend had to deal with the bad news that starting center Steve Akomo was suffering from a blood clot in the brain.
Instead of floundering, the inspired Tigers took off to a 31-point first quarter, built an early 15-point spread, then led by as many as 30 points on the way to matching UP's 3-4 (win-loss) record at the end of the first-round of the eliminations.
"Everybody came out to play. Almost all of my players were more relaxed, just playing basketball and having fun," said Aldin Ayo.
"We were playing as a team. I think that was difference compared to our previous games," he added.
Cansino was so good he flirted with a triple-double as he finished with 16 points, on 5-of-6 shooting, alongside 10 rebounds and seven assists to lead the Tigers’ balanced offense.
Renzo Subido bucked cold shooting and still finished with 13 points and six assists while Kenneth Zamora and Marvin Lee added 12 and 11, respectively.
The guard trio also combined for eight of the team's 11 three-pointers.
Bright Akhuetie led the Fighting Maroons with 18 points, 11 rebounds and four assists but found little help as his usually reliable guards fired blanks.
UST 86 – Cansino 16, Subido 13, Zamora 12, Lee 11, Huang 9, Caunan 8, Bonleon 7, Agustin 5, Mahinay 2, Bataller 2, Marcos 1, Cosejo 0.
UP 72 – Akhuetie 18, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 12, Dario 10, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 9, Desiderio 6, Murrell 6, Vito 3, Lim 2, Spencer 2, Tungcab 2, Gozum 2, Manzo 0, Jaboneta 0.
Quarters: 31-16, 53-29, 76-46, 86-72