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Wounded, not dead: Tigers claw Tams in 2OT thriller

By Josiah Albelda Posted Sep 1st 2013

The University of Santo Tomas outlasted Far Eastern University in double overtime to remain alive for the Final Four.

Coach Pido Jarencio put it perfectly: Di pa kami out.

After all the trials they've gone through and overcome in the 76th UAAP men's basketball tournament, it might be illogical to count University of Santo Tomas out.

The Growling Tigers dug deep from their bag of tricks to outlast Far Eastern University, 79-78, in a double overtime thriller and book their second straight win Sunday before a huge crowd at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

On the verge of defeat twice, UST showed heart and resilience in fighting back and toppling the Tamaraws from the top of the league.

"It's all about the heart," said Karim Abdul, who led the Tigers with 24 points and 12 rebounds. "We wanted to change and help the team in every way possible."

FEU was a few seconds away from victory in two occasions, but UST came up with big triples each from Aljon Mariano and birthday boy Tata Bautista to fight back and record their sixth win in 11 games.

"It's all about the players," shared coach Pido Jarencio. "Yung desire, yung effort nandun. Yun nag hinahanap ko e."

Abdul was at the forefront of the Tigers' attack, challenging the Tamaraws' big men and coming away successful, especially in the second overtime, when he scored five of UST's last seven points to seal the win.

"Talagang nag-takeover si Karim," Jarencio added. "Sabi niya sa akin, he'll do his best and give his 100%. Gusto niyang i-prove yung sarili niya, na karapat-dapat siyang mag-MVP last year."

But Jarencio got help from all fronts, too, as Mariano and wingman Kevin Ferrer also delivered the goods for the Espana-based squad, who climbed into the top four with the win.

Mariano sank two triples en route to 21 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists while Ferrer hounded FEU's scorers and still came away with 15 points, 13 boards, four assists and two steals.

"Total team effort talaga ito, pinagsama-sama na lahat," Jarencio said. "Para ito sa community. Ang damming nano and they're expecting na maka-recover kami kahit may mga key players na wall."

Terrence Romeo (19 points, seven rebounds, six assists) came out with another brick-fest of a game, making just seven of 25 shots and botching two game-winning plays as the Tamaraws fell to second place with an 8-4 record.

Mac Belo added 15 markers and 14 boards, but his final attempt was swatted away by Abdul. RR Garcia and Mike Tolomia continued to struggle and combined for only 13 points on five of 27 shooting.

The scores:

UST (79) - Abdul 24, Mariano 21, Ferrer 15, Lo 8, Bautista 6, Pe 2, Daquioag 2, Sheriff 1, Lao 0

FEU (78) - Romeo 19, Belo 15, Mendoza 13, Garcia 8, Hargrove 6, Cruz 6, Tolomia 5, Pogoy 4, Sentcheu 2, Jose 0

Quarters: 10-16, 21-32, 43-44, 62-62, 70-70, 79-78