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UST oust University of the East, seal duel with Eagles, Sports:
post Sep 21 2006, 06:24 PM
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Tigers oust Warriors, seal duel with Eagles

By Jasmine W. Payo
Last updated 01:16am (Mla time) 09/22/2006

Published on Page A23 of the September 22, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

CALL IT WHAT you want -- luck, divine intervention, heart.

It doesn’t matter.

The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers are where nobody ever expected them to be. They’re in the finals.

Throwing away a double-digit lead and staring at a five-point deficit at endgame, the Tigers willed themselves to an 82-81 thriller over the favored University of the East Red Warriors in their knockout semifinal game at the Araneta Coliseum yesterday.

The scrambling victory set up an interesting finale in a season robbed of its favorite rivalry: the powerful Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles against the Tigers, the season’s longshot.

Defying the odds once again, the Tigers overcame the Warriors’ twice-to-beat advantage, exploiting the absence of a key Warrior to forge a best-of-three title showdown against the Eagles starting Sunday.

Rookie sensation Jervy Cruz delivered another monstrous performance with 27 points and 18 rebounds.

But it was Jojo Duncil who sealed the win for the Tigers when he completed a game-clinching three-point play in the last 53.8 seconds

“I didn’t promise anything, but I had big expectations for this team,” said UST’s rookie coach Pido Jarencio. “I just told them to give everything they have in this game.”

The Tigers, who extended the semifinal series with a 79-75 victory in Game One, will march into the Finals for the first time in seven years. The Warriors risked their title-bid just to get a point across. Team officials suspended Bonbon Custodio, the Warriors’ topnotch guard who averages a team-high 16.5 points per game for disciplinary reasons.

Carmelita Mateo, team manager and school executive vice president, said the decision was a “disciplinary measure based on infraction on certain team rules.” No further explanation was given.

The Tigers seized a 14-point lead early in the first half as the Warriors struggled to find a way to plug the offensive void left by Custodio’s absence. But UE struck hard in the endgame, taking a five-point lead in the stretch.

Earlier, the Far Eastern University Baby Tamaraws moved within a win away from claiming the junior crown with a 67-55 victory over the Ateneo Eaglets in Game 1 of their best-of-three series.

The women’s title is also within reach for the UST Tigresses after Neri Noscal buried a buzzer-beating triple for a Game 1 triumph, 52-49, against the FEU Lady Tamaraws.

The scores:

Third Game (Srs)

UST 82 -- Cruz 27, Duncil 16, Espiritu 12, Evangelista 9, Cortez 7, Cuan 6, Taylor 4, Ababou 1, Canlas 0.

UE 81 -- Llagas 14, Arellano 14, Gregorio 13, Bandaying 8, Labagala 8, Thiele 4, Martinez 4, Espiritu 2, Canizares 1, Lingganay 0, Briones 0.

Quarters: 23-17, 43-38, 67-64, 82-81
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post Sep 23 2006, 08:21 AM
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Go UST!!!!!!!!
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