Jun Manzo sank one of two free throws in the last 11 seconds and the UP Fighting Maroons held on to a 71-69 victory, sending the woeful UST Growling Tigers to a league-worst 0-8 record at the Araneta Coliseum Wednesday.
The Tigers’ two attempts in the ensuing possession rattled off the rim as UP repeated over UST and improved to 4-4.
Marvin Lee’s late three-pointer cut the lead to a point, but Manzo’s charity put UP ahead by two.
“Lagi na lang ganun nakakahabol pero ‘yung finishing kick kulang kasi ‘yung maturity ng mga bata kulang pa,” said UST coach Boy Sablan, who had been criticized on social media for the Tigers’ miserable start.
The Maroons took a 31-22 lead in the second quarter on the strength of a 16-5 run capped by a tear drop from former UAAP juniors’ MVP Juan Gomez de Llano.
The Tigers had a 61-40 rebounding advantage over the Maroons, but committed 23 turnovers. UP had only seven errors.
UST missed also 14 free throws for a 58.9-percent clip.
Lee had 17 for UST while rookie Steve Akomo contributed seven points, 20 rebounds and four blocks.
Felix Jaboneta led UP with 12 points, including four triples.
Up next for the Tigers will be season hosts Far Eastern University Tamaraws on Oct. 15, Sunday, 12 noon, at the Arena in San Juan.