The UST Growling Tigers came alive in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter and overtime to eke past the NU Bulldogs, 87-74, and notch their third win in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Rhenz Abando took over for the Tigers in the clutch, scoring 13 points in the last seven minutes of the contest including four triples. He finished with 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from downtown.
It was another heartbreaking loss for the Bulldogs, who were still leading by five, 68-63, in the last 42 seconds of regulation after a putback by Shaun Ildefonso. Abando drained a free throw, then NU failed to inbound the ball, which paved the way for an Abando 3-pointer that turned it into a one-point ballgame, 68-67.
The Bulldogs got whistled with an eight-second backcourt violation, allowing Zach Huang to tie it at 68-all with a trip to the line. UST rebounded Huang's free throw miss and had a chance to get the lead, but Mark Nonoy missed his shot from long range.
Enzo Joson drove to the basket for a potential game-winner, but Chabi Yo responded with a clutch layup with 2.1 seconds remaining to send the match to overtime.
"We got lucky in the endgame. We did not play our game in the first three and a half quarters. It's good that we picked up in the last five minutes of the fourth," said UST head coach Aldin Ayo.
The Tigers carried over their momentum in overtime as Abando and Chabi Yo conspired for an 8-0 run that put the game out of reach.
Chabi Yo registered a 23-point, 20-rebound double-double in the victory that lifted UST to a 3-1 record. The Tigers bounced back from their first loss of the season against Ateneo.
"It's good that the kids continued pouring it on especially in the last six seconds. While our opponents were celebrating, we were able to convert and force it to overtime," added Ayo.
Dave Ildefonso paced NU with 16 points and six rebounds, while John Lloyd Clemente contributed 12 points. The Bulldogs came so close to breaking into the win column but they remained at the bottom with a 0-3 slate.
UST 87 -- Chabi Yo 23, Abando 21, Concepcion 13, Nonoy 9, Subido 7, Paraiso 6, Huang 5, Cansino 3, Ando 0, Bataller 0, Cuajao 0.
NU 74 -- D. Ildefonso 16, Clemente 11, Joson 10, S. Ildefonso 9, Gaye 6, Oczon 5, Galinato 3, Mangayao 2, Gallego 0, Mosqueda 0, Rangel 0.
Quarters: 21-16, 30-31, 47-52, 70-70, 87-74.
- The Bulldogs absorbed their third straight loss, all of which boiled down to the last possession (84-83 vs Adamson, 83-82 vs La Salle).
- UST led by 10 points early before NU stole the lead entering halftime. The Tigers kept inching closer only but they got the lead back in overtime.
- UST hit 13 3-point shots, including five from Rhenz Abando, and two each from Sherwin Concepcion, Renzo Subido, and Brent Paraiso.
UST - September 18 vs Adamson at the MOA Arena
NU - September 18 vs UP at the MOA Arena