Two is better than one.
THE UST Growling Tigers snapped their six-game skid after handing the FEU Tamaraws their 11th loss, 57-53, in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum on Saturday, Nov. 18.
This is the Tigers’ second win this season, of which the first came against the Tamaraws as well during the end of the first round last Oct. 22, 68-63.
The Tigers went neck-to-neck in the opening salvo as they only had a one-possession lead in the first minutes, 9-7. Tigers Echo Laure, Vince Ventulan and Christian Manaytay began to pierce through the defense of Tamaraws, igniting a 7-0 rally, 16-7.
FEU responded with a deuce, while Tigers forward Ventulan closed the first quarter by completing his freebies, 18-9.
The second frame had both teams trading buckets. UST set up to expand FEU’s deficit to 12, 29-17. But the Morayta-based squad led a 7-3 run to trim the lead and conclude the half, 32-24.
UST fueled a 15-point advantage in the third frame, the biggest lead of the game. FEU answered with an eight-to-nothing run courtesy of James Tempra, Miguel Ona and Jorick Bautista’s field goals. But Tiger guard JJ Gesalem spoiled the Tamaraws’ late run after burying it from downtown to finish the quarter, 47-37.
In the final quarter, UST maintained a 10-point lead until FEU’s Bautista, Tempra and Gonzales came alive by erupting for a late game 6-0 push to close the gap between a two-possession game, 54-50.
Tamaraws attempted to chase the lead as Bautista sank a trey, 56-53. But with 19.5 seconds left, Manalang cashed one from the bonus after being fouled on dribbling out to seal the deal, 57-53.
UST’s Christian Manaytay led the team with 12 points and seven rebounds, while Migs Pangilinan tallied 10 points, five boards and three assists.
FEU’s Jorick Bautista notched a game-high 17-piece with four off the glass and a dime, while James Tempra finished with ten markers and collected five boards.
UST finished last in the league with a 2-12 standing, an improved win-loss record from last season’s 1-13. F