ANTIPOLO — University of Santo Tomas was assured of a playoff for a semis slot in the UAAP season 82 men’s basketball tournament after surviving Adamson 80-74 on Saturday at the Ynares Center here.
Timely triples from Mark Nonoy, Sherwin Concepcion and Renzo Subido in the final four minutes proved to be the difference as they thwarted the Falcons’ fiery comeback attempt in the fourth period.
Holding a comfortable 67-55 lead early in the fourth, Adamson responded with 12 unanswered points to tie the game up with 4:37 remaining following back to back baskets by Simon Camacho.
That’s when the Tigers turned to their best weapon, and it certainly did not fail them as they responded with a barrage of three-pointers – capped off by a tightly contested trey by Subido to give UST a 76-69 lead with 1:36 remaining.
“Hell of a game because we were tight. All of us,” UST head coach Aldin Ayo said.
“The players, even the coaching staff. I have very young assistant coaches and this is a learning experience sa mga bata kong coaches at yung sa nine rookies on how to handle pressure,” he added.
The win allowed the Tigers to finish their elims campaign at 8-6, where the worst case for them is a playoff for the fourth spot if they end up being tied with La Salle and Far Eastern University after the tournament.
Ayo is already proud of his players for what they have achieved, though he is far from contented,
“Mababa lang naman expectation namin. Sabi ko nung press con, nung nag interview sa akin, we won five games last season. Since we won eight, may tatlong nadadagdag, ok na yun but we’re not gonna stop there,” said Ayo.
Nonoy made up for a sloppy night as he finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Soulemane Chabi Yo added 16 points, 15 rebounds and two blocks while Rhenz Abando and Subido chipped in 13 and 12 respectively.
Rookie Joem Sabandal paced the Falcons with a season-high 18 points, but that was not enough to stop their slide as they fell to 4-9 after losing their third straight game.
UST 80 – Nonoy 17, Chabi Yo 16, Abando 13, Subido 12, Concepcion 8, Paraiso 5, Cansino 4, Ando 2, Huang 2, Bataller 1
ADU 74 – Sabandal 18, Ahanmisi 11, Camacho 10, Douanga 7, Chauca 6, Lastimosa 6, Fermin 4, Manlapaz 3, Mojica 3, Bernardo 2, Magbuhos 2, Yerro 2, Flowers 0
Quarterscores: 26-22, 43-42, 65-55, 80-74