UST beats Adamson to snap losing streak
MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE 2) The University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers revived their Final Four hopes after beating the Adamson Soaring Falcons, 80-67, in their second-round encounter of the UAAP Season 76 men's basketball tournament Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum.
The Growling Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak to hike their record 5-5 and remain within striking distance of the top teams in the league.
"Sa last four games namin, siguro dapat four out of four, or three out of four," said UST coach Pido Jarencio after the game. "Manalangin na lang na may matalo sa dalawa -- sa Ateneo and UE. 'Yun ata 'yung hinahabol namin, at La Salle siguro."
Karim Abdul top-scored for the Tigers with 19 points to go along with 12 rebounds and four blocks, and outplayed his Adamson counterpart, Ingrid Sewa, who had six points and nine boards.
The Tigers pulled away from the Falcons in the fourth quarter, when two triples by Ed Daquiaog and a floater by Aljon Mariano allowed UST to claim a 66-55 lead with just under five minutes remaining.
Adamson was able to cut the lead to just five points, 65-70, thanks to the efforts of Jericho Cruz and Don Trollano, who combined in a 10-4 blast to keep the Falcons in the game.
But the Falcons would not make another field goal the rest of the way, as they missed long jumper after long jumper and committed turnovers in the final minute.
In one key sequence, with Adamson trailing by five, Cruz missed a field goal yet failed to go back on defense as he tied his shoelaces. With a five-on-four advantage on offense, the Tigers swung the ball to Mariano who converted a jumper.
Trollano would miss a triple in the next Adamson possession, and Abdul slammed the door on their comeback attempt with a hook shot that made it 74-65 with just over a minute remaining.
While happy to see his team finally break out of its losing skid, Jarencio also lamented the spate of injuries that the Tigers suffered this season.
Team captain Jeric Teng returned from a shoulder injury in their last game only to suffer another injury in his hamstring, and is now considered day-to-day. Jarencio told the media that two players recently underwent surgery to repair their ACLs, while another player is awaiting diagnosis.
During the game itself, guard Kim Lo and Abdul went down hard due to shoulder injuries, but were fielded back in the game.
"This year, disappointing talaga dahil sa injuries," said Jarencio.
"Sana maka-chamba pa, maka-pasok pa ng Final Four," he added. "Tapos kung may play-off, then so be it. Laban naman tayo."
Adamson has now lost its sixth consecutive game and the Falcons' hopes of making the Final Four are flagging. They have not won a game in the second round, and their record now stands at 3-8, second worst in the league.
Rodney Brondial led Adamson with 15 points, while Cruz added 13 markers.
UST 80 - Abdul 19, Daquioag 17, Mariano 16, Lo 8, Ferrer 8, Bautista 6, Sheriff 4, Hainga 2, Pe 0
ADU 67 - Brondial 15, Cruz 13, Trollano 12, Rios 12, Sewa 6, Cabrera 5, Monteclaro 2, Inigo 2, Petilos 0, Julkipli 0, Agustin 0, Abrigo 0
Quarter-scoring: 15-18, 31-30, 51-47, 80-67-