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6 takeaways from UST’s Game 2 win over FEU

Ed Daquioag and Karim Abdul provided ample support to Kevin Ferrer's career-high tying 29-point performance in Game 2. File Photo

I had six thoughts following Game Two of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Finals.

One, Kevin Ferrer played like a MVP. On the day the league’s back-to-back Most Valuable Player, Kiefer Ravena, shared the spotlight with his long-time friend Kevin Ferrer who the former declared as “the co-MVP,” the King Tiger played exactly like that.

Ferrer tallied 29 points including an incredible three-point flurry, 10 rebounds, and two assists in drawing his team level in the championship series. In an incandescent third quarter performance where he notched 24 points, Ferrer hit six triples even with a hand in his face.

The last time he did that this season, he erased a deficit against Ateneo in the first round for a Growling Tigers’ win.

His barrage clearly inspired a Tigers team in need of a leader and in inspiration.

Second, UST’s Big Three finally showed up. Karim Abdul, Ed Daquioag, and Kevin Ferrer combined for 50 of their team’s 62 points. All three of them scored in double figures and led their team in the stat sheet.

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Daquioag’s contributions were huge. In five championship matches dating back to Season 76, this is his first where he heavily contributed. Coach Bong dela Cruz hopes that now that he has the money, or Tamaraw off his back, he’ll continue his high scoring ways in Game Three.

It’s pretty difficult to stop a team with heavy scoring coming from three different people. The discrepancy between both team’s starters is jarring — 55 from UST to the 22 of FEU. You can make the argument that Mike Tolomia and Mac Belo are coming off the bench so the scoring may be uneven. But there’s the gamble. You’re hoping the promoted players hold the fort until the regulars come in. If they don’t and the cavalry fails to stem the tide then you’re digging yourself into a deeper hole.

Third, FEU played out of control. Medyo gigil if you describe it in the vernacular. They were getting in the lane but throwing up all sorts of wild shots that were hitting the rim or elsewhere. They could have closed out UST but there were vestiges of hero ball being played.

Case in point one: On a three-on-one break, with Roger Pogoy in the middle, he opted to take it all the way instead of passing to Monbert Arong who was a stride or two ahead. The result was a missed layup.

Case in point two: In the midst of a wretched shooting day, Mike Tolomia threw up a shot when Achie Iñigo was wide open. He bricked the shot and Iñigo looked at him with his arms spread as if to say, “I  was wide open.” More than that, Iñigo was shooting better than he was (50% FG shooting). Tolomia was 0-15 from the field with all his seven points coming from the free throw line where he was 7-8.

FEU had chances to still upend UST especially after Ferrer tapered off. But they muffed so many chances from the free throw line and close range shots. Instead of cutting the distance that allowed UST to hold them off.

Fourth was, did FEU experience that eerie feeling of deja vu. These past two Finals, they won the first but lost the second. And we all know how Game Three turned out for them last season. That has to weigh even just a bit in their minds.

Five, should UST win this it will be historic for two Dominican schools will hold the two premier Philippine collegiate titles. That has never happened before. This past season, Letran won the NCAA title over San Beda in most incredible fashion. And now, UST’s on the cusp of a championship. That is going to be one grand celebration.

And my sixth and last thought…. Game Three is going to be one helluva finale to what has been a great championship series.

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