ANTIPOLO - The UST Growling Tigers notched their seventh win in UAAP Season 82 and eliminated the NU Bulldogs from contention, 88-76, Saturday at the Ynares Center.
Team captain CJ Cansino regained his touch and tallied a season-high 15 points and filled the stat sheet with five rebounds, three assists, and three steals. Soulemane Chabi Yo had a monster double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds and guards Renzo Subido and Mark Nonoy put up 14 points and 12 points respectively.
Budding star Rhenz Abando, who was benched in UST's previous game amid a recruitment controversy, checked into the game early in the second quarter. He finished with nine points and five boards.
"We played well. Lots of players stepped up," said head coach Aldin Ayo. "They just played basketball. They were having fun. They enjoyed the game but we know that [when] they are doing that, also comes responsibility."
In a game filled with runs and counter runs, the Tigers delivered the most decisive one in the fourth quarter. After NU closed the third period with a 21-7 blast, UST took the reins in the final frame, extending a nine-point lead back to 20 points with less than five minutes remaining.
Unlike his previous game where he came out firing and scored 10 points in the first half, Cansino picked his spots versus the NU defense.
"I just trusted in the system," Cansino said in Filipino. "I also trusted coach Aldin. I just did what he asked me to and I just did my best."
The Tigers tightened their grip at the third post with a 7-5 record, just behind the UP Fighting Maroons who own a 6-4 card. Their next assignment will be against Final Four hopeful De La Salle Green Archers.
Dave Ildefonso dropped 27 points on 57 percent shooting while brother Shaun had 15 points and seven rebounds for NU. The Bulldogs dropped to 2-9 and bowed out of the Final Four race with three more games left on their schedule.
UST 88 -- Chabi Yo 16, Cansino 15, Subido 14, Nonoy 12, Abando 9, Ando 8, Bataller 3, Concepcion 3, Cuajao 3, Paraiso 3, Huang 2, Bordeos 0.
NU 76 -- D. Ildefonso 27, S. Ildefonso 15, Clemente 10, Gaye 6, Rangel 4, Joson 3, Minerva 3, Oczon 3, Malonzo 2, Mosqueda 2, Gallego 1, Diputado 0, Galinato 0, Mangayao 0, Tibayan 0, Yu 0.
Quarters: 17-18, 38-30, 65-56, 88-76.
UST had full control of the boards over NU, 58-30. This is also led to the Tigers' getting 21 second chance points.
The Bulldogs have missed the Final Four for the fourth straight time.
UST - October 23 vs DLSU at Smart-Araneta Coliseum
NU - October 23 vs UP at Smart-Araneta Coliseum