MANILA – The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers fought off the Enderun College Titans, 74-66, while the University of Perpetual Help Altas put away the San Beda Red Lions in overtime, 85-83, in the semi-finals of the 20th Fr. Martin Cup.
Their victories put the Growling Tigers and the Altas on a collision course for the Fr. Martin crown when the final buzzer sounded at the Trinity University of Asia gym on Saturday in Quezon City.
Louie Vigil hit key free throws in the final minutes for UST as they held off the Titans, who had come within striking distance thanks to a Willo Turingan free throw, 66-70.
Vigil scored 18 points, including four free throws in the final 5.9 seconds, which allowed the Growling Tigers to advance to the finals.
"Enderun played good. It was shaky for us in the third and fourth quarters, but our shots connected in the end, and our defense worked well," said UST coach Segundo “Bong” dela Cruz III.
Jordan Rios top-scored for Enderun with 16 points.
In the other semi-final game, Donald Tankoua put San Beda ahead for the first and last time in the game with a drive off a pass from Ranbill Tongco to make it 83-80 in favor of the Red Lions with 25.6 seconds left.
But Juneric Baloria, who fired a team-high 18 points, came into the picture as his two charities and a three-point play in the final 10.3 seconds allowed the Altas to overtake the Red Lions in the ensuing play.
"The boys got overconfident against the Red Lions. Good thing they kept their composure in overtime,"” said Altas coach Lester del Rosario.
The Altas were all set to beat the Red Lions in regulation after Baloria made two free throws that made it 74-72 with 3.7 seconds left.
But Tongco’s shot at the buzzer sent the game into overtime, tied 74-all.
Tankoua top-scored for San Beda with 23 points. The Red Lions had to rally from a 26-43 halftime deficit.
UST and Perpetual will battle for the crown on Thursday.
Meanwhile, in the juniors division, the San Beda Red Cubs advanced to the finals after Norrish Decapia fired the winning shot with two seconds left to beat the National University Bullpups.
They will battle the Adamson Baby Falcons, who beat Xavier School, 80-66, in the other juniors semi-finals match-up.