UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas kept its semifinal hopes alive, outlasting erstwhile league leader Far Eastern University, 79-78, on Sunday in another double-overtime thriller in the UAAP Season 76 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Karim Abdul had a game-high 24 points, including a three-point play with 32.3 seconds left to complete the Growling Tigers’ 7-0 finish to the second overtime.
Abdul had eight points in the extra period despite experiencing pain in his right leg.
“It’s the players,” said Jarencio. “It’s all about the players not giving up. Talagang 'yung effort, desire, and 'yung puso nandoon. 'Yun ang hinahanap ko na nawala sa akin.”
The Tigers remained in contention for a spot in the semifinals after improving their win-loss record to 6-5.
The Tamaraws, who were just coming off a double-overtime victory over UE last week, fell to second place at 8-4 as idle National University climbed to solo first with an 8-3 win-loss slate.
UST appeared to be down and out in regulation when Terrence Romeo buried two free throws with 7.4 seconds left in the fourth to make it 62-59. But Aljon Mariano buried the triple to send the game into extra period.
The Tamaraws again held a three-point led but Tata Bautista hit another game-tying triple with 10.9 seconds left, 70-70.
Mark Belo’s putback gave FEU a 76-72 lead with 1:51 left in the second overtime but UST was able to tie the contest on a Mariano jumper, before taking the lead on Abdul’s score from the post.
Abdul also made a huge defensive stop, swatting away Belo’s three-point try as time went down to its final tick.
It was a huge win for UST, still playing shorthanded with Jeric Teng out due to a right hamstring injury.
FEU actually had a huge chance to win when Mike Tolomia converted a follow-up at the end of the first overtime. But referees called off the shot after a video review, saying that the ball was still in his hand at the buzzer.
Romeo had 19 points while Belo had 15 points and 14 rebounds for FEU.
UST (79) – Abdul 24, Mariano 21, Ferrer 15, Lo 8, Bautista 6, Pe 2, Daquioag 2, Sheriff 1, Lao 0.
FEU (78) – Romeo 19, Belo 15, Mendoza 13, Garcia 8, Hargrove 6, Cruz 6, Tolomia 5, Pogoy 4, Sentcheu 2, Jose 0.
Quarterscores: 10-16; 21-32; 43-44; 62-62; 70-70; 79-78.