The Games that Play Us: Humming

The España crowd explodes in delight as their heroes
sealed a slot in the Final Four.
(image by Diana Moraleda/

UST Growling Tigers over the FEU Tamaraws, 77-73

They haven’t really been given enough press space, but the UST Growling Tigers have quietly crept into the twice-to-beat conversation. Coach Pido Jarencio has masterfully, if discreetly, steered the Tigers to a 5-1 record in the 2nd round, which is next only to Ateneo’s divine loss-less standing. They are a team humming – a team getting ready to roar on the big stage.

This is the team that avenged bitter first round defeats to DLSU, Adamson and now FEU. UST joins Ateneo and Adamson as the only teams that did not lose to either UE or UP. UST solidifies its place in the Top 4 with this win. UST has a chance to get as high as 2nd.

And UST might just be reprising the miraculous run of 2006.

They proved with this game that they have the cast to do it. Karim Abdul was a rock under the basket, finishing with yet another double-double, 20 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Despite their awful field-goal shooting, Chris Camus, Jeric Fortuna and Jeric Teng combined for 34 points, 17 boards, 7 dimes, 2 steals and 1 rejection. UST was solid across the board.

But even that wouldn’t have been enough against these Tamaraws, who were sparked by an unlikely hero – reserve guard Roger Pogoy, who ended up with 14 points, 6 caroms and 2 thefts. He backstopped RR Garcia’s 17 markers, 10 boards and 4 assists. FEU was game in this one, coming back from as deep as 18 points down to take a 3-point lead late in the 4th stanza.

Roger Pogoy was the unlikely hero that helped
FEU climb back from an 18-point hole.
(image by Diana Moraleda/
The fightback of coach Bert Flores’s wards would’ve been the story for the game, had Camus not lucked out on a near 30-footer as the shot-clock expired, and had Kevin Ferrer not made his third trifecta of the encounter.

Ferrer. Now that’s a name UAAP barker Rolly Manlapaz will be saying many times over in the next few years. The rookie displayed one of his best games, if not his best, so far, scoring 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, corralling 12 rebounds, along with a block and an assist for good measure. I get the feeling the freshman everyone thought would challenge Kiefer Ravena for the ROY plum is ripe and ready to roar.

Kevin Ferrer reminded FEU why he was being compared
 to Khasim Mirza in the first place.
(image by Ralph Samson/
And the other Final Four squads better burn the midnight oil in preparation for Ferrer’s impending explosion. The España crew closes out the elims against NU on Sunday, with a chance to tie for 2nd spot in case FEU repeats over DLSU and/or Adamson loses to Ateneo.

So what’ll happen if there’s a tie for 2nd? It can be simple, or complicated, depending on how many teams finish right behind the Blue & White.

If two teams finish tied for 2nd, then both teams will have a playoff for the twice-to-beat edge. After that playoff, the loser plays #4 for the right to face #2 in the step-ladder Final Four. This’ll happen only if Adamson loses to Ateneo and if either FEU or UST wins this on Sunday. In that case, it’ll be Adamson vs FEU/UST for the twice-to-beat.

Jeric Teng and the Tigers might still
finish near the top of the heap.
(image by Diana Moraleda/
BUT if Adamson loses and both FEU and UST win, then things get more… mathematical. If all 3 teams end up with 9-5 slates, then their quotients (the point-differences in their games with each other) will determine who gets to play for the twice-to-beat, and who gets 4th outright. The team with the lowest quotient (FEU at -19) finishes outright 4th. Adamson (quotient is +12) and UST (quotient is +7) battle for the twice-to-beat. Loser faces FEU for the right to battle #2.


Of course on the off-chance Adamson steals the last game from Ateneo, all that will be thrown out the window.

UST 77 – Abdul 20, Ferrer 19, Fortuna 14, Teng 11, Camus 9, Lo 2, Vigil 2, Pe 0, Tan 0, Sheriff 0, Lao 0, Ungria 0
FEU 73 – RR Garcia 17, Pogoy 14, Romeo 12, Exciminiano 10, Ramos 8, Tolomia 6, Foronda 3, Escoto 3, Cruz 0, Bringas 0
QS: 23-11, 45-32, 55-53, 77-73

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