KEVIN Ferrer had a season-high 17 points and helped neutralized season MVP Bobby Ray Parks to lead University of Santo Tomas to a finals spot with a 63-57 win over National University in the Final Four of the UAAP seniors basketball tournament on Saturday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Tigers earned a return trip to the finals after six years, with Ferrer scoring 15 in the first half to spark UST’s attack in the second quarter.
Ferrer made an impact on defense, helping limit Parks to only 12 points—his second lowest output this season.
The 6-foot-4 UST forward then put an exclamation point to the win, hitting the last basket of the game
The last time UST was in the finals was in 2006 where the Tigers defeated the Ateneo Blue Eagles in three games.
UST, which held a twice-to-beat edge in the Final Four, played with a sense of urgency and denied NU a chance to turn the matchup into a series.
“It’s about desire, kung sino may kagustuhan na manalo. ‘Yung puso, andyan na,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio, who was in his first year as head coach when the Tigers won in 2006.
“Sabi ko from the start, kung may bagay ka na gusto, lahat yan pinaghihirapan. Eto nangyari na ito, pinaghirapan nila ito,” said a proud Jarencio.
Karim Abdul had 15 points and eight rebounds while Aljon Mariano tallied 15 points, including the run-breaker that broke NU’s momentum late in the game.
The Bulldogs trailed by only two points on a 7-0 run anchored by Joshua Alolino, 59-57, but Mariano bounced back from a missed triple with a running shot on the Tigers’ second chance for a 61-57 lead with one minute and 53 seconds remaining.
NU could not recover and Jeoffrey Javillonar failed to convert on his three-point attempts late in the dying moments of the game.
UST (63) – Ferrer 17, Abdul 15, Mariano 14, Fortuna 8, Teng 6, Vigil 3, Pe 0, Lo 0, Bautista 0, Afuang 0.
NU (57) – Javillonar 15, Parks 12, Alolino 8, Villamor 6, Betayene 5, Mbe 4, Khobuntin 3, Rono 2, De Guzman 2, Singh 0, Neypes 0, Labing-isa 0.
Quarterscores: 17-18; 38-34; 56-50; 63-57.