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The Games That Play Us: The Comeback Cats Are Back

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Sunday, 7 July 2013 7 Comments

The UST Growling Tigers were known as the Comeback Cats last season and, if this game is anything to go on, it looks like that moniker will stick.

I switched on the television set with about a minute to go in the first half of this game, and I saw Adamson leading by ten, 34-24. Apparently, Ingrid Sewa and Jericho Cruz were having their way with the Tigers. At that point Sewa had dominated inside, scoring 13 points and grabbing 6 rebounds against the UST frontliners. He shot 5-of-6 from the field in the first hald. In contrast, UST’s own big man, Karim Abdul, was a dismal 1-of-9, good for 2 points, with just 1 rebounds and, worse, 3 turnovers in 15 minutes of action.

Cruz was also doing well for coach Leo Austria. He was a blitz wreaking havoc all over the floor. At this point, he had already scored 8 points, collared 5 rebounds, and dished out 6 assists. he was on pace for a sublime triple-double and his Falcons were on-track to gain win number 2 at the expense of a title contender.

And then the third quarter happened.

When the Falcons look back on this game, they definitely cringe when the third period is replayed. They shot a woeful 20% from the floor and despite winning the rebound battle, 12-10, they coughed up the ball 5 times while forcing just 1 UST error. Sewa had no shots in 9 minutes of play and Cruz made just 1 of his 8 field goals.

As for UST, the Tigers old reliables Kevin Ferrer, Tata Bautista, and Jeric Teng to tow the España crew back in the thick of the fight. That trio combined with Abdul to score all 19 third quarter points for the Black & Gold. Ferrer, in particular, shone brightly with nice cuts to the basket and two blocked shots. When the third closed, UST found itself up, 45-41.

Ferrer continued to do well in the final frame, scoring 6 points and blocking his fourth shot of the match, but it was former Xavier stalwart Jeric Teng who won the day for UST.

Adamson made its own run and trimmed a 10-point deficit to just two points after three straight triples from Celedonio Trollano and Roider Cabrera (Trollano hit the first two and Cabrera the third). The Falcons were now breathing down the necks of the Comeback Cats, and this is when Teng struck the hardest.

Teng received the ball at the left quarter-court, and instantly signaled for an isolation play. He dribbled a few times before making his move – a quick first step to the left that ended with him stopping on a dime to pull up form about 16 feet.

He drained the jumper to seal UST’s second win in as many games.

After Trollano missed from downtown in the ensuing play, Aljon Mariano got hacked and split his charities for the final tally.

It was another escape for coach Pido’s wards, who had to scramble in OT against DLSU during opening weekend, but, though there are a lot of positives to take from this triumph, I am dead sure he is not the happies bench tactician around, especially since the Tigers -13 in rebounds, -6 in assists, and failed to get Abdul going.

The Falcons, however, will have a lot more to tinker. Sewa was awesome in the first half, but he was a dud in the third and fourth frames. It’s clear that Adamson is probably the best rebounding team in the league at this point, but winning the battle of the boards is meaningless if they cannot put the ball in the basket (just 34% FG shooting by game’s end). They also have to take better care of the rock, especially with Ryan Monteclaro still not 100%. In his place, coach Leo has been alternating Ar-raouf Julikipli and Axel Inigo, but those two combined for 8 of Adamson’s 20 TOs. Yikes.

 

UST GROWLING TIGERS over AdU SOARING FALCONS, 67-62

UST 67 – Ferrer 17, Teng 15, Bautista 9, Mariano 8, Daquioag 7, Abdul 6, Lo 5, So 0, Sheriff 0, Pe 0, Hainga 0

AdU 62 – Cruz 15, Sewa 13, Cabrera 11, Brondial 9, Trollano 6, Julkipli 4, Petilos 3, Inigo 1, Rios 0,Monteclaro 0, Agustin 0

QS: 18-22, 26-34, 45-41, 67-62

Key Performances:

Kevin Ferrer (UST) – 17pts, 4rebs, 4blks, 2asts, 1stl

Jeric Teng (UST) – 15pts, 6rebs

Jericho Cruz (AdU) – 15pts, 8rebs, 7asts, 1stl

 


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Started playing basketball the same way many other Pinoys do -- on the street with his relatives, friends, and neighbors. After accepting the fact I will never be Philippine Basketball's savior against the might of China and Korea on the court, I turned to writing off the court. I'm not exactly the most objective armchair analyst on this side of the basketball universe, but it's not for want of trying. I write about other basketball leagues on HoopNut.blogspot.com. If you also have any queries about the English language, blame it on the day job. Follow me on Twitter: hoopnut

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