By Val Marvin G. Macanas
The UST Growling Tigers ended their 12 game losing streak against the mighty Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles via a 71-70 win that was anchored on a late game charge that was spear-headed by the former San Beda Red Cub, Aljon Mariano.
The Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles dominated the whole first half of this game. Kiefer Ravena and Nico Salva led the Blue Eagles as they scored 13 points and 11 points a piece in the first half alone. Together they helped Ateneo establish a double digit lead against UST at the end of the 1st half, 43-28. UST can't seem stop them as they scored heavily from the inside as well as from the outside.
But when the 3rd Quarter started, the momentum shifted to UST as the comebacking Aljon Mariano had a scoring rampage. He and Jeric Teng sank countless baskets that baffled Ateneo's defense. They led UST to a 30-11 run in the 3rd Quarter. After being down by as much as 15 points, UST is now just down by 4 points heading into the 4th Quarter, 58-54.
The 4th quarter of this game was a very thrilling one as both teams were doing great on the offensive. It came down to the last 10 seconds of the 4th Quarter wherein Karim Abdul made an impressive drive to basket leaving Greg Slaughter clueless. He propelled UST to a 4 point lead, 71-67 with 10 seconds left on the game clock. But Ateneo's number 1 point-guard Juami Tiongson never gave up as he made a three pointer to cut UST's lead down to just 1 point, 71-70 with 5 seconds left on the clock.
Ateneo was forced to foul Jeric Teng. Teng left the door wide open for the Blue Eagles as he missed both of his charities. But Ateneo failed to capitalize as Greg Slaughter fumbled on grabbing the rebound. UST proceeded to win this ball game.
This game will serve as a morale booster for UST as they beat a formidable Ateneo team.
Aljon Mariano who scored a a career high 21 points, 13 rebounds and 2 assists was the best player of the game. He later on said to the media that:
"Pinaghandaan ko yung game namin. Pinatunayan ko na dapat paghandaan nila ako. Sobrang pinaghandaan ko talaga yung Season na ito."
UST's next game will be on Saturday. They will go against the UP Fighting Maroons at 4 in the afternoon. Ateneo on the other hand will experience the wrath of the NU Bulldogs on Sunday at 4 p.m. Both of the games will be played in the SM MOA Arena.
Some Game Stats:
University of Santo Tomas (UST) 71: Aljon Mariano 21, Jeric Teng 16, Karim Abdul 14, Jeric Fortuna 11, Kevin Ferrer 4, Tata Bautista 3, Lo 2, Paolo Pe 0, Daquioag 0, Melo Afuang 0
Ateneo De Manila University (ADMU) 70: Kiefer Ravena 19, Nico Salva 17, Greg Slaughter 9, Juami Tiongson 8, Ryan Buenafe 5, Oping Sumalinog 4, Nico Elorde 3, Justin Chua 3, Frank Golla 2, Tonino Gonzaga 0, JP Erram 0
Quarter scoring: 12-27, 28-43, 58-54, 71-70