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UST zooms late to turn back UP

By Josiah Albelda Posted Jul 24th 2013

MASKED TIGER: Kevin Ferrer produced a double-double in leading the UST Growling Tigers past the UP Fighting Maroons.

With University of Santo Tomas losing to Far Eastern University over the weekend, Coach Pido Jarencio realized he needed to do some tweaking with the Growling Tigers’ attack to improve their game.

Against University of the Philippines, Jarencio looked to his stars to bring in the goods and his bench to deliver the intangibles as UST trampled on the Fighting Maroons, 79-69, in the 76th UAAP men’s basketball tournament Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

“Ang sama ng nakaraan,” Jarencio said after the win. “Yung game na yun, kasalanan ko. Masyadong mababaw yung rotation. Nag-isip-isip din ako na kailangan kong gumamit ng ibang players.”

The amiable coach said that the Tigers, who are missing stalwart Jeric Teng due to injury, are in for a long season and if the Espana-based squad is to survive it with flying colors, other UST cagers have to step up, too.

“Mahaba pa ito,” he shared. “Lahat nagamit.”

Jarencio actually needed all the weapons he can fire on the Fighting Maroons, who brought the “fight” again but just didn’t have the artillery to keep up with the Season 76 runners-up.

Missing burly slotman Raul Soyud due to suspension, UP recovered from an early slumber to close the first half, 35-31 for the Tigers.

But the Maroons – after holding UST to 40.5% shooting in the opening quarters -- allowed UST to shoot 50% from the field in the last two periods, including a late burst that featured Tata Bautista firing nine points in a whim to finally put UP away.

Masked man Kevin Ferrer delivered the goods for the Tigers with 16 points and 10 rebounds, but the wiry wingman said that he is not 100% healthy yet.

“Namamanhid pa rin mukha ko,” said Ferrer, who wears a mask to protect his fractured cheekbone. “One to two months pa yata ako magsusuot ng mask.”

Hazy vision aside, Ferrer played like the leader Jarencio envisions him to be.

“Without Jeric, si Ferrer talaga yung maasahan,” the coach added. “Positive nangyari at naka-double-double siya.”

Aljon Mariano put on another solid outing with 18 points and seven rebounds while Karim Abdul and Bautista finished with 14 and 12 markers, respectively.

Meanwhile, Tata Marata top scored for the Maroons with 16 points, but nobody from Diliman finished in double figures as UP absorbed its sixth straight loss and 31st in their 34 games since coach Ricky Dandan took over.

The scores:

UST (79) – Mariano 18, Ferrer 16, Abdul 14, Bautista 12, Lo 9, So 4, Daquioag 4, Pe 2, Tan 0, Macasaet 0, Lao 0, Hainga 0, Faundo 0

UP (69) – Marata 16, Lao 9, Wong 7, Pascual 7, Ball 7, Ligad 6, Gingerich 5, Suarez 4, Harris 4, Asilum 4, Gallarza 0

Quarters: 21-15, 35-31, 56-48, 79-69