UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas essayed another come-from-behind win over La Salle, 81-79, on Sunday to regain a piece of the top spot in Season 78 of the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Growling Tigers trailed by as many as 11 pts in the first half and were staring at a seven-point deficit entering the fourth before making their move and complete the comeback.
With the win, UST found itself sharing first place anew with Far Eastern University with similar 7-1 cards, while gaining a three-game lead over third placers Ateneo and La Salle, both toting with even 4-4 records
Heroes were aplenty for the Growling Tigers, who have won their fourth straight victory by duplicating their 77-61 win over the Green Archers last Sept. 30 in which they rallied back from a huge 16-point deficit.
But Kevin Ferrer stood out in the rousing win as he scored 11 of his 15 points in the final quarter to cement the victory for the Tigers.
Karim Abdul had 18 points and 11 rebounds, while Ed Daquioag added 17. Louie Vigil and rookie Marvin Lee had 13 points each for the Growing Tigers.
“Iba na ‘yung second round eh. ‘Yung mga teams nakapag-adjust na sa amin. Kailangan mag-double effort kami this second round,” said UST coach Bong Dela Cruz.
Jeron Teng finished with 16 points for La Salle, which lost a 48-37 lead at the start of the third quarter to slip to a tie with rival Ateneo in the team standings.
Prince Rivero had 13 points, while Joshua Torralba chipped in 12 points for the Green Archers.
The Tigers opened the pivotal fourth with a 14-2 run to spark the comeback, turning a 59-66 deficit into a 73-68 lead.
Rivero tied the game at 73, but Abdul scored and Vigil broke away for lay-up with 1:32 left to give the Tigers the needed cushion going home.
UST (81)—Abdul 18, Daquioag 17, Ferrer 15, Vigil 13, Lee 13, Sheriff 3, Bonleon 2, Abdurasad 0, Caunan 0, Faundo 0, Garrido 0, Lao 0, Subido 0.
DLSU (79)—Teng 16, Rivero 13, Torralba 12, Torres 11, Tratter 7, Perkins 6, Sargent 6, Navarro 5, Langston 3.
Quarterscores: 21-22; 37-45; 59-66; 81-79.