THE UST Growling Tigers failed to execute another comeback as the Ateneo Blue Eagles pinned them down with a two-point deficit loss, 66-68, yesterday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
After trailing for as much as 13 points, the Tigers still came short in the last minute of the game. Just as the Tigers reclaimed the lead after splitting Aljon Mariano’s free throws, Eagle Juami Tiongson swiftly grabbed an offensive board to make a jumper which grabbed the lead once again to 65-64. Nevertheless, the Eagles’ lead was short-lived after draining a jumper from Abdul from beyond his range with 7 seconds left.
However, Ryan Buenafe of the Blue Eagles drove strong in the basket, getting the foul and the goaltend point swatted by Abdul. This gave them a two point advantage with 5.1 seconds remaining. Given the small amount of time left, the UST crowd gallantly applauded, hoping for another come-from-behind win, but unfortunately, not in this game. Game clock expired as Mariano came short with his three-pointer. Although the Tigers were close to another comeback, it just wasn’t enough to stop the Eagles.
Finishing strong is the Cameroonian center, Karim Abdul with double-double figures, 22 markers and hauling down 12 rebounds and 2 blocks. He was also backed up by Jeric Teng, who was sizzling hot, scoring 8 of his 12 points in the first quarter and only four points further in the game.
An upset and frustrated, Jeric Teng apologized to the UST crowd, but despite their game loss, he was thankful for the intensity and effort given by the people. “When I got out of the arena, I was warmly welcomed by the UST community. Wow. Gave me goosebumps. We won’t stop playing hard. Thank you,” Jeric Teng said in his twitter account.
Protest against the loss
However, UST already filed a protest today concerning two controversial decisions by the referees. One was the uncalled technical foul against the Ateneo head coach Norman Black and the other was the goaltending violation called on Karim Abdul.
In an interview with ABS-CBN, Coach Pido said, “Hindi tinawagan ng technical si Norman Black, he was crossing the line. Hindi pwede ‘yun, once nag-cross ka, technical dapat.”
After Abdul’s jumper, who snatched the lead, 65-66, Coach Black once again charged the referees. “He should’ve been called for a technical…if the call was made, it would have been a game-changer,” Coach Pido added.
Another call that UST protested is the goaltending violation on Karim Abdul after swatting an offensive play by Ryan Buenafe. It was true that Buenafe was fouled in his attempt, but Abdul was still called for a goaltending violation even after the whistle.
“Whatever decisions the UAAP Board will make, either they count the ADMU win or we play against ADMU again, it will be fine for us,” as stated by Coach Pido to ABS-CBN.
UAAP commissioner Ato Badolato’s decision is expected to be released before the re-play of the game between NU and FEU on Sunday, September 23.
UST is currently in the third spot with a 9-4 standing, hoping to bounce back with a face off with the University of the East on September 20. It will be their final scheduled game in the elimination round.
Tigers’ Scores: Abdul 22, Teng 12, Mariano 9, Fortuna 8, Ferrer 8, Bautista 7, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Lo 0, Afuang 0
Eagles’ Scores: Ravena 18, Tiongson 13, Buenafe 11, Slaughter 10, Sumalinog 7, Salva 6, Elorde 3, Gonzaga 0, Golla 0, Chua 0
Quarter Scores: 18-16, 33-30, 43-52, 66-68
By Josiah Darren G. Saynes
Photo taken by Jenzine Inah M. Alcantara