THE small men of University of Santo Tomas cut Prince Orizu and Far Eastern University down to size as it came away with a stunning 76-74 win in the UAAP Season 81 on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
In a game that was pretty much dominated by the 6-foot-8 Tamaraw slotman, Aldin Ayo’s little guys made a giant impact as Marvin Lee and Renzo Subido hit big shots in the endgame to respond to every Orizu basket.
A jumper by Marvin Lee with less than three minutes left gave the Growling Tigers a three-point lead before transferee Kenneth Zamora beat the shotclock with 18.5 seconds remaining to give the squad a 76-71 lead.
A Hubert Cani three-pointer coupled with a turnover from Lee opened a window of opportunity for the Tamaraws, but Arvin Tolentino clunked a three at the buzzer to condemn FEU to its first loss of the season.
The win in their second game of the season enabled the Tigers to match their win total from last season under Boy Sablan. Last year, the Tigers needed 14 games to get their first win.
“We’re a very young team, our team is composed of nine rookies. Good thing na ngayon naglaro sila and nilabas nila ang laro nila and maganda resulta,” said Aldin Ayo, who turned emotional after his first win as UST coach.
“Ang gusto lang naming mangyari as the season progresses, maka-adjust,” Ayo added.
Subido bounced back from a terrible shooting night in a loss to National University on opening day as he finished with 18 points. Lee added 13 points, four assists and two steals while rookie Joshua Marcos added 12 off the bench.
Marcos wasn’t the only rookie who stood out. Germy Mahinay, another transferee, came up with a big putback late while CJ Cansino came away with the basket in the 4:38 mark that gave UST the lead for good.
The loss put to naught a big performance by Orizu, who finished with a career-high 25 points which went along 15 boards and three shotblocks. Hubert Cani added 15 points as Richard Escoto finished with 13.
UST 76 – Subido 18, Lee 13, Marcos 12, Akomo 10, Huang 9, Cansino 7, Zamora 5, Mahinay 2, Consejo 0, Enrique 0, Bonleon 0
FEU 74 – Orizu 25, Cani 15, Escoto 13, Tolentino 5, Comboy 5, Parker 4, Tuffin 2, Ebona 2, Stockton 2, Inigo 0, Gonzalez 0
Quarters: 15-17, 39-32, 56-52, 76-74