Rhayjun Baquial, Kobe Palencia and John Bismarck Lina came up with big plays at endgame, allowing the University of Santo Tomas Tiger Cubs to stop the third-seeded and defending champion Far Eastern University-Diliman Baby Tamaraws, 81-80.
Their heroics in the last 1:12 allowed them to move into the next round of the 80th University Athletic Association of the Philippines(UAAP) junior basketball step-ladder semifinals at the Blue Eagle Gym.
Baquial had 13 points, and made eight of it in the last period, including a drive past LJ Gonzales in the last 1:12, capping the rally from 12 points down midway in the quarter.
The 5’11 Baquial’s basket tied the Tigers to move ahead, 80-79, and take control of the game in the remaining time.
After a split charity from Gonzales off Liam Manabat’s fifth foul tied the contest, 80-all, Palencia drew a foul from FEU cager Daniel Celzo.
Palencia, who had 11 points, then canned in one of two freebies with 8.3 ticks left, putting UST back on top, 81-80.
Lina then fouled Celzo when he was going for a drive in one of FEU’s last two attempts in the remaining time.
FEU still had a chance to win it. But Royce Alfoque’s three-point attempt came short of the basket.
“Lahat sila, nagkusa sa game. Inencourage ko kasi na ito na ang time nila. Panahon na nila ito, at wag na nilang pakawalan,” said UST coach Christopher Cantonjos.
Top MVP candidate CJ Cansino showed the way again, making 18 points and 16 rebounds.
He also had eight points in the last canto, including a triple which touched off a 20-9 run in the last 6:25.
The Tiger Cubs went on to unload six triples during that scoring burst, with two of them coming from Manabat before he fouled out.
FEU, led by RJ Abarrientos with 24 points, enjoyed a 70-58 edge off his trey, 70-58.
UST will now clash with o National University in the second step-ladder semis match at 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
The semis and the Finals will be aired live on S+A 23.
The Bulldogs hold the twice-to-beat advantage after finishing No. 2 in the eliminations.
Ateneo earned an outright passage to the best-of-three title round after completing a 14-game elims sweep.
CJ Cansino produced another solid outing with 18 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, while Baquial 13 points, five boards, four assists for the Tiger Cubs.
UST made it to the semifinals after nipping Adamson University in overtime last Wednesday.
UST (81) - Cansino 18, Baquial 13, Narvasa 12, Manabat 12, Palencia 11, Villapando 6, Lina 4, Anunciacion 3, Relucio 2, Estrella 0, Dolendo 0, Benzonan 0.
FEU (80) - Abarrientos 24, Torres 11, Gonzales 10, Alforque 9, Sajonia 8, Tolentino 6, Celzo 4, Ona 3, Bautista 3, Armendez 2. Quarterscores: 20-15, 36-41, 53-62, 81-80
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