Nursing a 60-39 lead at the end of three periods, UST thought they could shift into cruise control in the final quarter against a seemingly defeated UE squad. Big mistake. The Red Warriors came roaring back, cutting the Tigers' lead all the way down to 65-59 with 2:07 left, but two bungled attempts to score by Roi Sumang and Adrian Santos ruined their momentum, allowing the Growling Tigers to hang on to the win, 70-63, as a 24-10 fourth period nearly did them in. Kevin Ferrer led all scorers with 19 points, but none came in the final quarter. On the other side of the court, Paul Zamar and Roi Sumang combined for 32 markers, but it wasn't enough to get the early season upset. (Recap here)
What's at Stake:
- Now at 5-5, the UST Growling Tigers get solo fourth after beating La Salle, thus, obviously the last thing they need now is for La Salle to tie them again, or heaven forbid, overtake them after a monumental collapse. Thus, it's imperative that they don't fall into the upset trap here by taking care of business with UE.
- UE (2-9) may finish the season content with (potentially) knocking down the domino that sent DLSU into rebuilding mode, but they'd also be okay with making things extra difficult with UST. A loss here could lead to a need to win more games late for the Tigers, possibly forcing them into a tie with other teams for the last Final Four spot.
UST Player to Watch : Ateneo beat UE by going down to the post again and again. While Karim Abdul does not have the height, he certainly has some post moves and has shown patience down low in faking off his defenders. His 14 point, 14 rebound, 2.7 assist average in the second round is certainly nothing to sneeze at, now if only he can be more consistent at the line...
UE Player to Watch : JM Noble produced a great line against the Tigers in the first round: nine points, two rebounds, two assists, two blocks in just 19 minutes. He's had back to back hot scoring performances, and no doubt, he'll want to add to that and make it three in a row.
Prediction: UST Growling Tigers