MANILA – University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers stayed alive in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball stepladder semifinals with an 89-69 win over the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
MVP winner Soulemane Chabi Yo poured 17 points, 15 boards, four steals, and two assists while Rhenz Abando added 17 points of his own, on top of seven boards and three blocks on Sunday.
Rookie of the Year Mark Nonoy contributed 16 points, including some crucial points late in the game, while Sherwin Concepcion and Crispin John Cansino added 12 and 11 markers, respectively.
“It’s all about execution: execution both on offense and defense,” said Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo. “We executed our game plan and lahat ng instructions ko, sinusunod ng mga players.”
The Growling Tigers’ hot shooting from outside helped them establish a 19-point lead, 50-31, and fended off numerous rallies from the Fighting Maroons to keep the nine-point cushion.
With UP knocking on UST’s door, 72-63, at 3:14 left, Concepcion and Nonoy buried big treys before Chabi Yo extended the lead to 17, 80-63 in the final 1:59 to force a winner-take-all game on Wednesday.
Juan Gomez de Liano finished with season-high 20 points, as Bright Akhuetie registered 19 points and 18 rebounds for the Fighting Maroons, which has a twice-to-beat edge for being the No. 2 seed./PN