A FATIGUED University of Santo Tomas settled for runner-up honors, falling to Zhongtian Qilin Society, 86-67, in the championship game of the NBA 5v5 2019 on Sunday at Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower in Shanghai, China.
CJ Cansino, in his first tournament back from an ACL injury, tried to spark the Growling Tigers in the fourth quarter, with his three-pointer cutting the Chinese squad's lead down to just seven, 62-55 with 4:27 remaining.
But it was too much for UST as the hosts finished off strong, using a 23-10 finishing kick to cap off the tourney with a 21-point blowout.
Cansino scored nine points for the Espana-based dribblers as they missed out on the RMB 500,000 cash prize (P3.7 million).
Beninese forward Soulemane Chabi Yo paced the Growling Tigers with 21 points and 15 rebounds, yet found himself firing blanks in the payoff period.
Super rookie Mark Nonoy also chipped in 12 points, while forward Rhenz Abando got 10, but the duo shot a combined 7-of-29 clip from the field.
UST was unable to get the luck of the draw, with its 84-74 semifinal victory over Dispatch ending at 5:30 p.m. and the finals starting at 6:45 p.m.
Still, it was a solid finish for the Growling Tigers, with the Aldin Ayo-mentored squad besting some of the top amateur teams from China, South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong.