UNIVERSITY of the East closed with a 9-3 run led by its newcomcers to frustrate University of Santo Tomas, 60-59, on Saturday at the start of the Filoil Flying V Hanes Premier Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Rookie Philip Manalang from National University tied the game at 57-all while Bertand Awana, coming off residency, and Josh Gonzales from Letran combined for three free throws to keep the Warriors' heads above water, 60-57.
Jam Sheriff made a jumper with 1:17 left, 59-60, but UST failed to score in its final possession, allowing the Warriors to escape with a win in their first preseason game without longtime star Roi Sumang.
“We are still far. Some of those guys have been with us for a week dahil graduates ‘yung iba. We are still trying to learn the system,” said UE coach Derrick Pumaren.
Incoming sophomore Paul Varilla had 10 points and 10 rebounds while Gonzales added nine points for the Warriors, who were left without Sumang when the crack guard decided to skip his final year of eligibility.
Mario Bonleon led all scorers with 17 points for the Tigers, who played without starters Karim Abdul, Kevin Ferrer, and Louie Vigil.
UE (60) — Varilla 10, Gonzales 9, Javier 8, Awana 7, Manalang 5, Abanto 4, Alberto 4, Penuela 4, Batiller 4, De Leon 2, Palma 13, Charcos 2, Larupay 0, Cruz 0.
UST (59) — Bonleon 17, Daquioag 12, Sheriff 8, Lao 7, Lee 4, Huang 3, Decapia 3, Caunan 3, Magno 2, Kakonda 0, Furaque 0.
Quarterscores: 17-14, 29-32, 48-47, 60-59.