The UST Tiger Cubs faltered against the UE Junior Red Warriors down the stretch, 73-76, in the UAAP Season 86 Boys Basketball tournament on Wednesday, Jan. 21, at the FilOIl EcoOil Centre.
UE built an 11-point lead through a 9-1 blitz after halftime before the Tiger Cubs closed the gap the rest of the way.
It took until the 3:18 mark of the fourth quarter for the Tiger Cubs to take the lead through an Andrei Dungo free-throw, 71-70.
UST also gained the lead with about two minutes left through Alfred Loreto’s split of charities, 73-72.
The Red Warriors then leaned on John Alejandro’s timely looks, nailing a jumper to take the lead, 73-74, which they preserved until the final buzzer.
Dungo fired 20 points for the Tiger Cubs, while Carl Manding chipped 18 that ultimately went to naught.
UST had its chances to regain control, but Dungo was charged with an offensive foul in the final 15 ticks before JB Lim missed a corner three.
After Joaquim De Leon’s two freebies widened the lead to three, Wacky Ludovice bungled UST’s final three-point heave as the buzzer sounded.
The loss put UST in a tie with the FEU-D Baby Tamaraws at the third seed with a 7-5 record. UE revived their Final Four hopes, improving to 5-7.
The Red Warriors controlled the game from the get-go, starting 4-0 and finishing the first half with a three-point lead, 33-36.
But turnovers took a toll on UE as the Tiger Cubs forced 25 turnovers, of which 15 came off steals throughout the matchup.
UST, however, came out cold from the outside, only making three out of their 25 three-point attempts, while UE finished with a 7-for-27 shooting clip from long range.
The Tiger Cubs will play the Ateneo Blue Eagles next on Jan. 24 at the same venue.