18 September 2013, 11:00 p.m. - THE UST Growling Tigers booked the last UAAP Final Four ticket by ousting the defending champion Ateneo Blue Eagles, 82-74, in their do-or-die game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
It was sweet revenge for the Tigers, who were swept by Ateneo in last season's finals and watched as the Blue Eagles claimed their fifth straight men's basketball title.
The Tigers could get another shot at the championship, but they will have to go past the top-seeded National University Bulldogs, who will enjoy a twice-to-beat bonus in their semifinal encounter on Sunday.
“As long as we work hard as a team, we're tough to beat," said UST's Jeric Teng, who finished with 17 points and nine rebounds, his best output since returning from injury.
Teng calmly sank five clutch free throws in the dying seconds to repulse a furious rally by the Blue Eagles, who played sans suspended head coach Bo Perasol.
“I prayed that this wouldn't be our last game,” he said.
Eight of his points came in the final quarter when the Blue Eagles pulled to within four, 75-71, with 52.8 seconds left.
The España-based cagers mounted a 12-0 run to erect an 18-point lead late into the second quarter.
Ateneo refused to give up, sparking a rally of their own to cut the deficit to three, midway into the third quarter.
The blue side of the Smart-Araneta Coliseum erupted with cheers after Ryan Buenafe’s three-pointer put Ateneo within a point, 41-42, at the 4:27 mark of the third period.
Aljon Mariano later completed a three-point play to put UST on top, 52-51, at the end of the quarter.
Most Valuable Player contender Karim Abdul led the Tigers with 25 points, five blocks and nine boards.
Kiefer Ravena paced the Blue Eagles with 20 points. Ralph Joshua D.R. Hernandez
UST 82 - Abdul 25, Teng 17, Daquioag 13, Ferrer 10, Mariano 7, Bautista 6, Sheriff 4
ADMU 74 - Ravena 20, Newsome 13, Elorde 12, Buenafe 9, Pessumal 8, Golla 4, Erram 4, Tolentino 2, Tiongson 2
Quarter scores: 25-14, 39-26, 52-51, 82-74
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