Finally, a win.
THE UST Growling Tigers ended their yearlong win drought on Sunday, Oct 22, after clawing the FEU Tamaraws, 68-62, at the culmination of the first round of UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament.
This is the tigers’ first victory since Oct. 1, 2022, when they beat the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 69-60, during the opening night of UAAP Season 85.
UST co-captain Nic Cabañero put the finishing touches to end UST’s 19-game skid by sinking a free throw that raised the tigers’ lead to six points.
“It’s been a long time since we won [which was] since last season… It feels overwhelming,” tiger forward Christian Manaytay said during a post-game press conference.
“We’re absorbing how winning feels like because it’s been a long time that we have not won, and I do hope we continue (winning),” Cabañero said.
The España-based squad came out firing in the opening frame, converting three straight triples to take an early 9-2 advantage. FEU eventually caught up as tamaraw Jorick Bautista hit a three to cut the lead to three. But Angelo Crisostomo scored inside to give UST a five-point lead, 22-17.
Tamaraw guard LJ Gonzales completed a three-point play to trim the gap to two, 36-34, in the second frame. However, the tigers closed the first half up by four points, 38-34, after Manaytay converted both free throws.
King tiger Cabañero erupted in the third quarter, scoring 11 big points capped off by a three-point play with 0.6 left on the clock. UST propelled to a 55-50 advantage.
Cabañero led the tigers with 23 points and six rebounds, while Manaytay contributed 10 markers and 11 boards. Migs Pangilinan and Crisostomo added nine and eight points, respectively.
Tamaraws Gonzales, Bautista and Xyrus Torres each scored 11 points.
Despite the win, the UST Growling Tigers remain at the bottom of the team standings with a 1-6 slate as they head into the second round. FEU is ahead of UST with a 2-5 win-loss record. F