12 November 2019
By Maxine Louise Lagman
Manila, Philippines – Veteran point guard Renzo Subido made a go-ahead three-pointer with 23.8 seconds left after the Fighting Maroons had taken a late lead, and the Growling Tigers held on for a 68-65 victory on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Tigers controlled much of the game, until Juan Gomez de Liaño knocked down a mid-range jumper that gave UP its first lead, 59-57. Ricci Rivero and Jun Manzo followed this with back-to-back baskets that put Diliman-based squad up by four, 63-59.
A slam dunk by Kobe Paras brings back UP’s lead to 4 at 65-61 at the 1:53 mark, after Nonoy hit a pair of free throws.
Rhenz Abando answered back with a fastbreak bucket for the Tigers to trimmed down UP’s lead to two, 65-63. Ricci Rivero missed a layup with 35 seconds to go to bring back the possession to the Espana-based squad.
Subido followed through with a triple that gave them back the lead, 66-65. Chabi Yo sealed UST’s victory with two free throws.
UST won all four of their games against UP this season including crucial victories in stepladder semis which book them to the Finals – their first since 2015.
“That was a good game. We have to give credit to coach Bo and his coaching staff for the adjustments they made,” said UST head coach Aldin Ayo. “Na-negate yung mga ginagawa namin and we tried to counter, we were able to get our shots kaya lang hindi pumapasok, but I kept on telling the boys to keep on taking those shots kasi yun naman talaga yung mga tira namin.”
Subido finished 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists. MVP Chabi Yo added 22 points, 16 rebounds, while Mark Nonoy and Abando had 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
Akhuetie topped UP with 16 points, 17 rebounds, four assists, and two steals, while Manzo had 12 markers and five boards.
UST will now face the undefeated Ateneo De Manila University in a best-of-three championship starting Saturday at Araneta Coliseum.
UST 68 – Chabi Yo 22, Subido 14, Nonoy 12, Abando 11, Ando 3, Cansino 2, Concepcion 2, Paraiso 2, Bataller 0, Huang 0.
UP 65 – Akhuetie 16, Manzo 12, Rivero 12, Ju. Gomez de Liano 8, Paras 8, Spencer 3, Ja. Gomez de Liano 2, Prado 2, Webb 2, Murrell 0, Tungcab 0.
QUARTER SCORES: 18-6, 29-28, 49-44, 68-65.