The University of the East Red Warriors finally clinched their first victory at the expense of still-winless University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, 96-91, in the first round of the UAAP Season 80 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena, yesterday.
The Growling Tigers got left behind in the opening quarter of play until they blasted an 11-2 run to take the lead over the Red Warriors, 32-31, early in the second canto.
Then, UE countered with a rally of their own as the Coach Derrick Pumaren’s crew unleashed an 18-2 burst capped off by a basket from Philip Manalang to build a 52-37 bubble at the tail-end of the first half.
The Espana-based squad was unfazed as they caught up with the Red Warriors. Marvin Lee knocked down a triple to bring back the Tigers within two, 65-67, with 2:09 to go in the third frame.
In the payoff period, the game turned into a neck-and-neck battle. Alvin Pasaol sank in a crucial basket with 22 ticks left in the game to push UE ahead by three, 94-91. Manalang put the nail in the coffin with a pair of free throws.
Pasaol once again led the charge for the UE as he tallied a double-double performance 32 points and 10 rebounds, while Manalang posted 20 markers. Mark Olayon and Jason Varilla chipped in 15 points apiece.
Marvin Lee garnered 20 points, 5/7 clip from beyond the arc, four dimes, and four boards. Steve Akomo added a double-double output of 19 markers and 18 rebounds.
UE 96 – Pasaol 32, Manalang 20, Olayon 15, Varilla 15, Bartolome 5, Acuno 4, Conner 2, Abanto 2, Maloles 1, Culiar 0, Derige 0.
UST 91 – Lee 20, Akomo 19, Sta Ana 13, Faundo 12, Caunan 10, De Guzman 4, Lorenzana 3, Romero 2, Huang 2, Escalambre 2, Garcia 2, Soriano 2, Kwawukumey 0, Macasaet 0.
Quarter scores: 27-20, 54-43, 75-71, 96-91.