THE UST Growling Tigers were tamed by the league’s top team UP Fighting Maroons during the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
Despite showing promise at the start of the first quarter with a 9-2 run, UST lost its momentum when UP orchestrated a series of baskets led by Reyland Torres, Francis Lopez, Cyril Gonzalez and Malick Diouf. The Diliman-based squad hoarded points up to the end of the frame, 24-18.
Tiger Nic Cabañero only scored two points in the second quarter, while Fighting Maroons Chicco Briones unleashed back-to-back three points to extend the Diliman-based squad’s lead to 12, 44-32.
Cabañero and Manaytay attempted to guide the Tigers in closing the gap during the third frame, but hope was crushed as UP guard Briones converted three field goals to cap off the quarter, 69-47.
Pangilinan’s back-to-back baskets drove the Tigers forward but fuel quickly ran out, allowing the Fighting Maroons to move an inch closer to securing the twice-to-beat edge in the final four.
Cabañero led the Tigers with 14 points, six rebounds and three assists. Manaytay also tallied 14 points, nine rebounds and one assist. Pangilinan contributed 13 markers, six rebounds and one assist.
Briones led UP with 14 points and four rebounds off the bench, which made him the player of the game. Gonzales followed with 10 points and one assist.
The UST Growling Tigers remain at the bottom with a 1-12 win-loss record, while the defending champions UP Fighting Maroons hold a 11-2 slate.
The España-based squad is set to conclude their tournament on Saturday, Nov. 18, against the FEU Tamaraws at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. F — Mc Neil Zyh Serrano