The UST Tiger Cubs survived a spirited comeback attempt by the FEU-Diliman Baby Tamaraws, 82-81, in the UAAP Season 86 high school boys’ basketball tournament on Sunday, Dec. 3, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A dominant UST lead for most of the way vanished when the Baby Tamaraws orchestrated a 37-11 fourth-quarter spree before falling short at the endgame.
Joaquin Ludovice set the tone for the Tiger Cubs, pouring 17 of his total 25 points in the first half off the bench on five-of-nine shooting from deep.
Former Batang Gilas guard Kurt Velasquez chipped in 10 points, six rebounds, and six assists, while JB Lim racked up 10 markers and six steals for the Tiger Cubs.
Carl Manding also put up 10, including the game-winning basket, while Doy Dungo, the former San Beda standout, notching a near double-double of nine points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes of action.
The Manu Iñigo-mentored Tiger Cubs catapulted the squad to a dominant offensive showing in the first two quarters as UST breezed through FEU-D on a 19-point lead at halftime, 42-23.
Carrying on a hot shooting streak in the first half, the Tiger Cubs pummelled the Baby Tamaraws in the third frame and led by as many as 27 before entering the final salvo, 71-44.
The Baby Tamaraws found the right notes to their offensive rhythm in the final quarter, knocking down crucial baskets to break away from what was once an insurmountable Tiger Cubs lead in the dying seconds, 80-81.
However, a Manding layup off a Dungo assist gave the lead back to the Tiger Cubs as UST averted disaster, sealing their second win of the season, 82-81.
Veejay Pre carried the Baby Tamaraws with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Cabs Cabonillas and Liam Salangsang both recorded 13 points in the loss.
The next game for the Tiger Cubs is yet to be announced at the time of writing.