THE UST Growling Tigers is now the only winless team in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament after being bludgeoned by the locked and loaded UP Fighting Maroons, 110-79.
Last Saturday’s game at the Mall of Asia Arena was the tigers’ fifth consecutive and worst loss in the season so far.
The España-based cagers fell to 0-5 because of the setback, also their 18th straight loss in the league. UP managed to keep an unstained win-loss record, 5-0.
Erstwhile winless Far Eastern University Tamaraws secured their first victory after shocking defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles in overtime also last Saturday, 66-61.
UST and UP were aggressive during the start of the game, firing punches back and forth as tiger Nic Cabañero soared for a layup to tie the game at 20-all. The tigers only trailed by four points to end the first quarter, 28-24.
It was a leveled battle at the midpoint of the second frame after Cabañero drained a three to keep the game within reach, 40-38. However, erstwhile tiger and now maroon CJ Cansino answered with a pull-up three that sparked a huge 10-0 run for UP, 50-38.
UP guard JD Cagulangan hit an off-the-window jumper to end the first half with a 14-point advantage, 59-45, and it was all UP from then on.
The Diliman-based squad poured in a 35-14 demolition job in the third quarter led by guard Harold Alarcon, securing a comfortable cushion against the struggling tigers, 94-59.
Alarcon led the maroons with 21 points, four rebounds and four assists. Cagulangan contributed 16 markers, nine dimes and four threes. Chicco Briones and Francis Lopez added 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Cabañero finished with a game-high 24 points, eight rebounds and three steals for UST. Christian Manaytay added 23 markers and six boards.
The 110 points gained by UP was the highest in a UAAP men’s basketball game since 2018, when De La Salle Green Archers annihilated the UST, 110-69.
The Tigers will face the Ateneo Blue Eagles on Oct. 18 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. F — S. L. Macaraeg with reports from N. A. Villamor