A ROOKIE-laden UST Tiger Cubs eked out a 79-71 win over the Jose Rizal University Light Bombers to kick off their Filoil Flying V Preseason Premier Cup campaign at the Arena in San Juan Wednesday.
After JRU trimmed a 12-point deficit to five with Ron Camua’s triple, Paolo Hernandez’s layup pushed UST’s lead to seven with 1:20 minutes remaining.
A miscue on a Light Bomber inbound set up the dagger turnaround jumper by Tiger Cub Inand Fornilos.
Fornilos finished with 21 points and seven boards to pace UST while Gian Benzonan added 10.
“Karamihan ng mga seniors, wala na. Kung titignan mo, 50 percent ng team wala na kasi gusto kong mabago ang atmosphere ng team, naging maganda naman. ‘Yung mga nilagay kong rookie, nag-comply naman,” said UST head coach Chris Cantonjos.
UST was firing on all cylinders going in the third quarter as they took an eight-point lead late in the period, 51-43, before the Light Bombers countered behind an 11-2 run that put them at a 54-53 advantage. But Hernandez scored off a steal with three seconds remaining for UST to regain the lead.
The game was tied at 58 with less than eight minutes left in the fourth until the Tiger Cubs erupted for a pivotal 14-2 spurt.
Gab Fortuna and Camua scored 16 and 15 points, respectively, for JRU.
UST will face UAAP defending champions Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws on May 12, Friday, 9:30 a.m., at the same venue.