UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas (UST) flexed enough muscles and held on to the end to beat Far Eastern University (FEU), 68-62, to end a 19-game losing streak that started two seasons ago in University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball action.
The weather on Sunday was gloomy with threats of rain but inside the Mall of Asia Arena, it was sparkling golden yellow for the Tigers nation specially for head coach Pido Jarencion.
Jarencio couldn’t sit though for the compulsory post-game press conference. He lost his voice for the entire 40 minutes whipping his Tigers no end.
Taking his place in the head table was his deputy Japs Cuan, himself a former UST point guard like Jarencio. “It’s a wonderful feeling winning after a long time,” Cuan said.
UST’s last victory was one year and 21 days ago on October 1, 2022, in its Season 85 opener against Adamson University, 69-60.
“Thank you God, we got this win,” said Growling Tigers third-year guard Nic Cabañero. “We’re super-duper thankful…we showed ‘puso’ and pride, fighting to the end.”
Cabañero had 23 points, 11 he made in the third quarter, and grabbed six rebounds for the Tigers, who closed out the first round with a 1-6 won-lost record.
“This will give us confidence going into the next round,” Cabañero said. “We’re going to be happy today but we’re going to work again”
Christian Manaytay finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds, Migs Pangilinan added nine points and seven rebounds and Kenji Duremdes had an all-around game of seven points, 10 rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal for UST.
Ljay Gonzales, Xyrus Torres,and Jorick Bautista had 11 points each or FEU, which dropped to 2-4 in a tie with University of the East just head of UST in the standings.
Cabañero completed a three-point play after a floater on Cedrickh Ona’s unsportsmanlike foul as the Tigers set themselves up with a 55-50 lead entering the final period.
Manaytay, Pangilinan, Ivanne Calum and Paul Manalang pushed the Tigers’ lead to 11 points, 65-54, midway the fourth quarter and never looked back.
In chess, UST stayed atop the men’s standings with 11.0 points following a 3.5-0.5 victory over De La Salle in Round 3 on Saturday.
Ateneo also won, 2.5-1.5, over FEU, but its 5.5 points, trailed University of the Philippines, FEU and De La Salle, which had 6.0 points each.