UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas rallied to seize the lead in the fourth quarter and held off Emilio Aguinaldo College, 76-75, on Friday in the Filoil Flying V Hanes Pre-Season Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
Trailing by seven, 54-61, at the start of the final period, the Growling Tigers silenced the Generals with a 13-0 run and grabbed the upper hand, 67-61.
EAC trimmed the deficit with an 8-2 rally capped by an Igee King triple, 75-76.
The Generals had a chance to snatch the victory after UST’s Jeric Teng missed his charities with 2.7 left to play but John Tayongtong's shot was also off the mark.
"Naka-tsamba na naman kami," said UST coach Pido Jarencio. "Pero ang positive lang doon 'yung players di nag-give up talaga kahit down kami ng seven, six points, laban lang tayo."
UST ended the eliminations in fourth place in Group B with a 5-3 win-loss record and will face defending champion and unbeaten Group A topnotcher National University on Wednesday in the quarterfinals.
The Tigers entered the match already assured of No. 4 in the group and a spot in the quarterfinals. They beat No. 5 Letran (4-4) earlier in the tournament.
"Ginamit namin ito (game) as preparation against NU for sure tambak kami doon," Jarencio said.
The España-based squad was without Kevin Ferrer, who sprained his ankle while playing for Blackwater against Boracay Rum in the opener of the PBA D-League semifinals on Thursday. Boracay beat Blackwater, 69-65.
King and Noube Happi finished with 17 points apiece, while Jan Jamon had 15 and Sherwin Castro added 13, for EAC, which ended the tournament with a 2-6 win-loss card.
UST 76: Teng 27, Mariano 16, Lo 10, Pe 5, Abdul 5, Daquioag 4, Hainga 8, Tan 3, Faundo 2, So 0, Macasaet 0, Marata 0, Lao 0.
EAC 75: King 17, Happi 17, Jamon 15, Castro 13, Monteclaro 18, Morada 5, Mejos 2, Tayontong 0, Hassan 0, Manga 0, Munsayac 0.
Quarterscores: 19-13; 30-30; 51-58; 76-75.