Rookie CJ Cansino starred anew as the UST Growling Tigers dominated the UP Fighting Maroons, 86-72, and secured their first back-to-back victories in UAAP Season 81 Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tigers sustained their aggressiveness until the final buzzer to end the first round on a high note. With a 3-4 record, they now share the fifth spot with the Fighting Maroons.
Cansino shined with 16 points on 5-for-6 shooting, ten rebounds, seven assists, and two steals, while Renzo Subido delivered 13 points and six assists. Kenneth Zamora and Marvin Lee also finished in double-digits with 12 and 11 points respectively.
"Everybody came out to play today," said UST coach Aldin Ayo. "All of my players, they played well, they executed the game plan, and they were more relaxed. We were playing as a team. I think that was the difference compared to our previous games."
The Tigers came out firing and dictated the tempo from the get-go, surging to an 8-0 start before zooming to as high as a 30-point lead after three quarters.
Behind the efforts of Bright Akhuetie and Diego Dario, UP made a strong 26-10 rally in the fourth frame but it proved to be a futile attempt to change the outcome of the game.
Akhuetie topped with 18 points, 11 rebounds, four assists, and two steals for the Fighting Maroons in the loss.
UST (86) - Cansino 16, Subido 13, Zamora 12, Lee 11, Huang 9, Caunan 8, Bonleon 7, Agustin 5, Mahinay 2, Bataller 2, Marcos 1, Cosejo 0.
UP (72) - Akhuetie 18, Gomez de Liaño Ja. 12, Dario 10, Gomez de Liaño Ju. 9, Desiderio 6, Murrell 6, Vito 3, Lim 2, Spencer 2, Tungcab 2, Gozum 2, Manzo 0, Jaboneta 0.
Quarterscores: 31-16, 53-29, 76-46, 86-72
- The Tigers are still missing the services of big man Steve Akomo, who was confined in the UST hospital due to blood clots in his brain.
- CJ Cansino and Zach Huang combined for 23 rebounds to help UST dominate the glass 51-38.
- Per league statistician Pong Ducanes, the Tigers' defense held Jun Manzo to a career-low zero points, Juan Gomez de Liaño to a season-low six points, and Paul Desiderio to a season-low six points.
UST - October 14 (Sunday) vs FEU Tamaraws at Mall of Asia Arena
UP - October 14 (Sunday) vs Ateneo Blue Eagles at Mall of Asia Arena