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Ateneo survives UST comeback, ties PCCL Finals

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     THE UST-Ateneo rivalry added another chapter to its catalog of exhilarating battles as the Blue Eagles escaped with a 70-69 victory in Game 2 of the Philippine Collegiate Champion’s League (PCCL) Finals yesterday at FilOil Flying V Arena in San Juan.

     Sophomore Eagle Kiefer Ravena coasted for the game-winning layup with 11 seconds left in the game to once again act as the party-spoiler for UST. He finished with 21 points, four rebounds and three assists.

     UST Team Captain Jeric Fortuna led the Tigers with 18 points, while Jeric Teng and Aljon Mariano combined for 28 points and 12 rebounds.

     The storyline was much familiar.

     Ateneo got off to a fiery start, leading by as much as 17 in the first quarter after five combined 3-pointers from Ravena and Tonino Gonzaga. Center Greg Slaughter continued the onslaught for Ateneo in the second quarter, pounding his much smaller opponents inside to help his team get a 43-30 halftime lead.

     It was almost as if the UST faithful knew what was going to happen in the second half. The Tigers came out of the dugout a different team, producing a better defensive effort and better offensive ball movement. A balanced attack from Fortuna, Teng, and Kevin Ferrer in the third quarter chipped away at Ateneo’s lead to get to as close as 49-54.

     The Tigers’ furious rally unleashed a 10-0 run featuring a 4-point play from Teng to claim the lead at 59-57. A seesaw battle ensued, as Ateneo regained the lead at 62-59. Fortuna connected on a booming triple to tie the game, but the momentum was briefly halted when center Karim Abdul was called for a blocking foul and a technical which were his fourth and fifth fouls, causing his disqualification from the game with about 4 minutes left. He contributed 13 points and 8 rebounds.

     After Slaughter and forward Nico Salva’s charities plus a Ravena trey, Fortuna answered back with another 3 point bomb to cut the deficit to one at 67-68. A Ferrer fastbreak layup got UST its last taste of the lead at 69-68.

     UST Coach Pido Jarencio, who recently recovered from measles, was still in high spirits when he was interviewed inside the Tiger’s dugout after the loss. “Bumabalik yung team natin, ano pa yung hihingin mo sa mga bata? ‘Di nawawalan ng pag-asa yang mga yan,” Jarencio told TomasinoWeb.

     The loss denied the Growling Tigers of bagging the national collegiate crown, at least for another week. Game 3 will be played at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on December 7.

Tigers’ scores: Fortuna 18, Abdul 13, Teng 12, Mariano 12, Ferrer 8, Bautista 4, Afuang 2, Pe 0, Daquioag 0
Eagles’s scores: Ravena 21, Slaughter 14, Gonzaga 13, Salva 9, Tiongson 7, Buenafe 4, Sumalinog 2, Golla 0, Pessumal 0, Chua 0, Elorde 0
Quarter scores: 14-28, 30-43, 49-57, 69-70

By Nicolo Paolo A. Pascual
Photo courtesy of Joshua John Albelda

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Cansino more than happy as UST clinches finals berth a year after freak injury

For team captain CJ Cansino, this finals appearance means so much more considering how his super-rookie season came to an abrupt end in Season 81 when he went down with an ACL injury against the same opponent in the same venue and UST’s campaign went completely downhill as they lost their last four games without him in the lineup. 

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Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

With their 68-65 win over the UP Fighting Maroons on Wednesday, the UST Growling Tigers are officially headed to the UAAP men’s basketball tournament finals after four long years to face the currently unbeaten Ateneo Blue Eagles this Saturday. 

For team captain CJ Cansino however, this finals appearance means so much more considering how his super-rookie season came to an abrupt end in Season 81 when he went down with an ACL injury against the same opponent in the same venue and UST’s campaign went completely downhill as they lost their last four games without him in the lineup.

“Sobrang saya ko. Kahit di ako naka contribute nang malaki, nakapasok naman kami ng finals. Iba talaga yung feeling pag pumapasok ng finals eh, dahil simula noong pumasok ako ng UST high school, pangarap ko na talaga ipasok ang UST sa finals,” Cansino quipped in an exclusive interview with TomasinoWeb

Despite only scoring two points, Cansino managed to pull down eight rebounds for the España-based squad in the closeout game against the Maroons. 

“Di ko maexplain eh. Bigla nalang tumulo yung luha ko tas tinignan ko yung mga tao and gaano sila kasaya. Sobrang sarap sa feeling,” he added when asked to describe the feeling of a finals appearance.

Cansino and the rest of the Tigers will look to draw first blood against the Ateneo De Manila University Blue Eagles as they play game one of the finals on Saturday.

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Tigers pull out of slugfest to claim finals berth over UP

It was yet another cardiac finish in do-or-die Wednesday as the UST Growling Tigers knocked off season 81 runners-up the UP Fighting Maroons with a 68-65 triumph to snap their four-year Finals drought in the UAAP season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay Wednesday, Nov. 13. 

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Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

It was yet another cardiac finish in do-or-die Wednesday as the UST Growling Tigers knocked off season 81 runners-up the UP Fighting Maroons with a 68-65 triumph to snap their four-year Finals drought in the UAAP season 82 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay Wednesday, Nov. 13. 

Despite a strong showing from UST in the first quarter which saw them outscore the Maroons 18-6, the rest of the contest was a dogfight between the two clubs with no clear winner in sight till the last few seconds of the game. 

The Maroons were able to go up by four points several times during the payoff period but clutch defense which led to crucial stops gave the Tigers a fighting chance to still pull out a win. 

With over 26 seconds left in regulation, the veteran Renzo Subido fired a huge triple over UP big man Bright Akhuetie which ultimately ended up as the game winning shot that gave UST a 66-65 lead as time expired. 

UP had its chances to retake the lead with a Kobe Paras attempt at a triple and a missed shot from Javi Gomez De Liaño, both of which resulted in crucial misses that led to MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo icing the game at the free-throw line.

James Spencer from UP had one last second attempt at a game-tying triple that resulted in a miss and capped off an underwhelming season for the Maroons. 

“That was a good game. We have to give credit to coach Bo [Perasol] and his coaching staff for the adjustments they made. It was real tough for us, because of their adjustments, na-negate yung mga ginagawa namin and we tried to counter, we were able to get our shots kaya lang hindi pumapasok but I kept on telling the boys keep on taking those shots kasi yun naman talaga yung tinitira namin.” Coach Aldin Ayo stated in the post-game presscon. 

Reigning MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo once again lead the charge for the Tigers with 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Renzo Subido poured in 14 points built on four triples, with one serving as the dagger for UST.

“Its just part of the game. I took the shot kasi ‘di lumapit si Bright [Akhuetie] eh. Yun lang, I’ve been practicing those everyday and I was confident with the shot.” Subido remarked when asked about his dagger three-pointer. 

Bright Akhuetie paced UP with a 16 point, 17 rebound double-double. Graduating point guard Jun Manzo and Ricci Rivero scored 12 points apiece, with this game being Manzo’s swan song in the UAAP.

With the win, UST sets up a finals duel against the unbeaten Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Game one of the UAAP season 82 finals will be played this Saturday, Nov. 16 at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.

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Mayhem too much for UP as UST forces do-or-die game

Just four days after vanquishing the FEU Tamaraws, the UST Growling Tigers proceeded to maul the UP Fighting Maroons, 89-69 in the stepladder semifinals of the UAAP season 82 mens’ basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao Sunday, Nov. 10. 

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Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

Just four days after vanquishing the FEU Tamaraws, the UST Growling Tigers proceeded to maul the UP Fighting Maroons, 89-69 in the stepladder semifinals of the UAAP season 82 mens’ basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum in Cubao Sunday, Nov. 10. 

UP had little to no answers to the Tigers’ high energy offense in the first half, easily giving up a 17-point lead within the first 20 minutes of the contest. 

In the second half however, the Maroons seemed to have read the Tigers as they were able to begin the half with a 23-point quarter, despite still trailing by 13 to enter the fourth, a stark contrast to their 24-point first half. 

UP actually had moments in the fourth wherein they were able to get close as nine points, however UST would rely on the hot hands of rookie tandem Mark Nonoy and Sherwin Concepcion and MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo to pull away further. 

An 8-0 run in the 2:55 mark sparked by back-to-back triples from Nonoy and Concepcion and a Chabi Yo putback solidified the win for the Tigers.

Rhenz Abando and Soulemane Chabi Yo led UST with 17 points apiece, with Chabi Yo pulling down 15 rebounds. 

“Its all about execution, execution on both defense and offense. We executed our gameplan and lahat ng instructions ko sinusunod ng mga players. We were connected out there,” Head coach Aldin Ayo remarked in the post-game press conference. 

Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy had 16 points to go along with four assists and four rebounds. 

“Ginagawa ko lang yung pinapagawa nya sakin and wala naman akong against kay coach kasi yung tinuturo nya sakin, makakatulong talaga sakin di lang ngayon pero papunta rin sa future,” Nonoy stated when asked how he repays Coach Ayo’s trust in him. 

For UP, Juan Gomez De Liaño notced a season-high 20 points, while Bright Akhuetie had a double-double of 19 points and 18 rebounds. 

Ricci Rivero had 12 points on an abysmal 6-out-of-16 shooting while marquee forward Kobe Paras was limited to just nine points after averaging 17.8 points in the elimination round.

Both teams are set to play each other in the rubber match on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay. 

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