KEVIN FERRER pumped in a career-tying 29 points to anchor the UST Growling Tigers past the FEU Tamaraws, 62-56, and to force a deciding Game 3 for the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball championship last Nov. 28 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Ferrer, who accounted for all but two of UST’s 26 points in a crucial third quarter stretch, caught fire and buried six treys to turn a nine-point deficit at halftime to a 10-point lead entering the final period, 47-37.
The senior forward also grabbed 10 rebounds for the Tigers, who held their opponents to just 27% shooting from the field.
The Tamaraws stormed back in the fourth to regain the lead, 54-52, but pesky defense and key baskets from Ed Daquioag and Louie Vigil were enough to help UST pull away.
UST head coach Bong dela Cruz said that the team’s change in demeanor spelled the difference in Game 2.
“Noong first game, nawala ‘yung enjoyment sa game. Sabi ko sa kanila, i-enjoy natin ito and at the same time, kailangan natin dumepensa. Sabi ko sa kanila na ang kailangan sa championship ay mental toughness,” dela Cruz said.
Karim Abdul, who was saddled with foul trouble in the first half, finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Ed Daquioag added 10 points.
Mac Belo led FEU with 16 points. Mike Tolomia scored seven but was held to a 0-of-15 from the field.
The Tigers have a chance to clinch their first crown in nine years this Wednesday, 3 PM at the Mall of Asia Arena.
UST (62) — Ferrer 29, Abdul 11, Daquioag 10, Vigil 5, Bonleon 3, Lao 2, Lee 2, Faundo 0, Huang 0, Sheriff 0.
FEU (56) — Belo 16, Pogoy 12, Jose 9, Tolomia 7, Inigo 5, Orizu 3, Tamsi 2, Dennison 2, Ru. Escoto 0, Arong 0, Ri. Escoto 0, Trinidad 0.