The Games That Play Us: For Real

Pido Jarencio hugs prized forward Kevin Ferrer after
the Tigers complete another stirring comeback victory.


Anyone still think the UST Growling Tigers aren’t for real? Nope? Thought so.

Now that they’ve beaten both the Blue Eagles and the Bulldogs, I guess it only stands to reason that anyone micro-blogging about the Tigers should affix #forreal before they hit tweet.

What’s even more amazing is how UST has beaten both Ateneo and NU. In both games, Coach Pido Jarencio’s wards fell behind by a significant double-digit margin (19 to Ateneo and 14 to NU), but in both games the Black & Gold refused to yield.

In the Ateneo game, UST used a 30-point third quarter to eradicate their deficit, while in this encounter, the Tigers outscored the Bulldogs, 24-8, after falling behind by 10 early in the fourth period.

For most of the game, it seemed like NU would be able to hold off any UST run, but it was not to be as Coach Eric Altamirano’s big guns fell silent in crunch time. On the other hand, the España crew never really wavered and kept piling on the pressure, slowly eating away at NU’s advantage until they were able to take the lead for good with under 2 minutes to go.

This time the key was a stretch in the final frame where UST made a 16-3 run, sparked by two triples from Jeric Teng and one by Kevin Ferrer, that effectively sent the Bulldogs crashing to their second defeat in four outings.

Landing at 2-2 after Week 3, of course, is something NU’s top brass (read: Henry Sy) probably didn’t expect after they swept the competition in the Filoil tourney. As of now, the only teams the Bulldogs have beaten are UE and UP, which is not exactly saying much even if they blew both teams out. For the bayside boys to be formally considered serious title contenders, they will have to sack the more seasoned teams they’ve yet to face.

The ramifications of this win for UST, of course, are glaring. Nobody can play UST thinking a double-digit lead is safe, no matter when that lead is erected. Nobody can play UST thinking it’s a one-dimensional squad – Teng, Jeric Fortuna, Ferrer, and Tata Bautista can all wax hot from three, while Karim Abdul and Aljon Mariano can really bust open inside. Nobody can play UST thinking the Tigers are underdogs.

This is because any team that beats both Ateneo and NU this year deserves to be noticed, deserves heaps of credit, and definitely deserves to be called FOR REAL.

Jeric Teng is the picture of jubilation as
UST copped its second win.

Karim Abdul (L) got the better of fellow Cameroonian
Henri Betayene (R) in their frontline match-up.


UST 77 – Teng 21, Abdul 11, Mariano 10, Fortuna 10, Ferrer 8, Bautista 7, Afuang 6, Lo 4, Vigil 0, Pe 0, Daquioag 0
NU 71 – Parks 25, Mbe 13, Alolino 13, Javillonar 11, Villamor 5, Rosario 3, Ignacio 1, Roño 0, Neypes 0, Khobuntin 0, De Guzman 0, Betayene 0
QS: 15-21, 36-41, 53-60, 77-71
Notable Performers:
Jeric Teng (UST) – 21pts, 11rebs, 3 treys
Karim Abdul (UST) – 11pts, 15rebs, 2asts, 2stls, 2blks
Ray Parks (NU) – 25pts, 4rebs, 4 treys, 4asts, 3blks, 1stl

*All images are by Juan Benjamin Janeo/

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