By Gian Franco, Socio-Political Editor |
Pasay City, Manila— The University of Sto. Tomas Growling Tigers aired a preview of their dynamic ball power even without Jeric Teng after they belted the University of the East Warriors to their 1-3 lead off the Top 3 in the UAAP Season 76 first round men’s basketball at the Mall of Asia Arena, July 13.
They came out with their fullest potentials as they leaned to an early 3-1 on the solo second spot of the season, after the Far Eastern University on top seed since its game opener of the season.
Karim Abdul, Aljon Mariano and Ed Daquioag dropped double-digit blitz, 88-77, to hapless Red Warriors, without the presence of their hotshot Jeric Teng, who’s out of the game due to a right shoulder injury he received on their previous game against the National University.
Tonight’s UST Big Three owned the paint just in right time with impressive scores on the board. The six-foot-three Mariano, who had been a faint shooter for just a little over six points on each first three games, chalked up his best yet 24 markers and 11 boards.
“Actually, I wasn’t 100 percent the past games. I got a little of it the last time but I’m not totally 100 percent. My timing was good earlier that’s why I got my game back,” Mariano said in a post-game interview.
“I was injured before the start of the season, a week before,” the prime mover Tiger admitted.
“The coaches were telling me I was the missing link so I needed this kind of game,” he added.
Abdul registered career-high 25 points and 13 rebounds. He also finished with 11 of 13 on the line while Daquioag added 19 points for the Tigers.
The second-spot UST was a lump in the throat for the Warriors, as Abdul throwed in an early boost, 3-11. Mariano paced the Tigers with their first 10-point lead in the first quarter after a shot made in the free-throw line.
Roi Sumang assaulted for 21 points and eight rebounds. The Warriors lost their vital rebounding hulk Charles Mammie after he was boxed for a one-game suspension due to his two misbehaviors in three outings.
The Warriors’ Lord Casajeros, who had just 9 points, tripped a tie on the 38 seconds remaining of the first half to mark 34-34. Their ball handling, however, drifted away to 10-point deficit in the last seconds after a seven lead changes during the second half.
The Tigers will be resting for three games straight until their fifth game head-to-head against the forerunner, Far Eastern University, for a campaign of the top spot on the awaited Battle of the East on July 21 at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Quarters: 16-10, 34-34, 63-56, 88-77