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UST comes back big to rout Ateneo

Kevin Ferrer pumped in 27 points, including six three pointers to lead UST from 16 points down to notch their fourth win in 5 games in the UAAP MBT Tournament. Dennis Acosta

By Alex Cerado

Chief gunner Kevin Ferrer stepped up big when it mattered most as the UST Growling Tigers escaped a pesky Ateneo de Manila University, 68-58, in a dramatic come-from-behind victory in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena Saturday evening. 

The Growling Tigers, who were down by as much as 16 in the third, detonated a huge 32-6 bomb in the last 12 minutes of the match to move to 4-1 on top of the standings alongside Far Eastern University. Ferrer finished with a career-high 27 points and nine rebounds, including three of his six triples in the fourth quarter. 

With the Tigers down 51-57 in less than five minutes in the final frame, Ferrer drained in two cold-blooded three-pointers that brought the house down to tie the game at 57-apiece. 

In the ensuing play, Ed Daquioag bucketed a lay-up with 2:45 left in the clock to give UST the lead, 58-57. Despite struggling all throughout the game, UST center Karim Abdul came clutch and converted two consecutive baskets going into the final two minutes of the match to turn the tables in their favor, 63-58. 

Abdul later on saw an open Jamil Sheriff in the dying seconds to pull away for good, 65-58. 

''They (Ateneo) were leading by 16, sabi ko tiyagain natin, ibaba natin sa 10 pagpasok ng fourth quarter,'' UST coach Bong Dela Cruz said. ''Nag-respond naman mga bata, dumipensa.''

The Blue Eagles dictated the tempo in the third canto after reigning MVP Kiefer Ravena took the spot light off a shot from downtown in the 6:29 mark, 42-34.

Matt Nieto continued Ateneo’s scoring barrage as he made a lay-up that zoomed their lead to 16 points, 52-36. The Katipunan-based ballers dominated the glass with 54 rebounds against UST’s 45, but was not enough after shooting 1-of-17 from the field in the payoff period. 

Von Pessumal tallied 19 points for Ateneo, which dropped to 3-2 in the third spot. 

Daquioag and Abdul chalked up 9 and 7, respectively, while combining for 19 rebounds and 4 dimes.

Box Scores:

UST 68—Ferrer 27, Daquioag 9, Lee 8, Abdul 7, Bonleon 7, Vigil 6, Sheriff 3, Faundo 1, Caunan 0, Lao 0, Suarez 0, Subido 0.

Ateneo 58—Pessumal 19, Ravena 13, Ma. Nieto 8, Babilonia 5, A. Tolentino 4, Gotladera 3, Apacible 2, Black 2, Pingoy 2, Cani 0, Capacio 0, Ikeh 0, Wong 0.

Quarterscores: 12-9; 26-30; 42-52; 68-58.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @alexiscerado