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Warriors finally win, prolong winless Tigers' agony

University of the East Red Warriors' Alvin Pasaol | File Photo

MANILA, Philippines — University of the East notched its first win of the UAAP season at the expense of a listless University of Santo Tomas side, 96-91, in the 80th UAAP men's basketball tournament Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

Alvin Pasaol posted a double-double with 32 points and 10 rebounds to go with two assist and two steals to lead UE. Three more Red Warriors chimed in double digit-scoring in Philip Manalang, Mark Olayon and Jason Varilla.

"I told my players, 'Change is not temporary' — kasi noong first five games, we didn’t play as a team. I didn’t see na yung team na nakikita ko every practice. But the effort against La Salle was really awesome. And we needed to use that as a spring board into the game,” said UE head coach Derrick Pumaren.

"UST was going to come back and I am really happy with how the guys responded. We didn’t fold,” he added. “I’m proud of the way they played.

The Growling Tigers, who were also in a bid to arrest their dry spell in Season 80, leaned on the hot shooting of Marvin Lee in the second half. They dug themselves out of a 15-point hole in that pivotal third.

The Tigers managed to close in and even tie the game with three minutes left in the game, but Pasaol wasn’t letting the momentum of his hot shooting last Wednesday wear off just yet.

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“Nadala namin yung game namin sa La Salle. Bumalik lahat eh, yung confidence namin, yung ball movement and pagdating sa defense namin. Iba lahat ngayon eh,” said Manalang, who iced the game with his charities.

“Siguro kung tinambakan kami ng La Salle, baka talo din kami gnayon. Malaking confidence din binigay sa amin nun,” Pasaol added.

“Kaya gumanda yung laro ko siguro sa mga teammates ko,” he said of his stellar outing following a personal best 49 against La Salle last Wednesday.

UE wraps the first round with a 1-6 record. UST, on the other hand, has become the league doormats at 0-7.

This is the first time the Growling Tigers finished the first round without a win since the Final Four era began (1993).

THE SCORES

UE 96 – Pasaol 32, Manalang 20, Olayon 15, Varilla 15, Bartolome 5, Acuno 4, Abanto 2, Conner 2, Maloles 1, Derige 0, Cullar 0

UST 91 – Lee 20, Akomo 19, Sta. Ana 13, Faundo 12, Caunan 10, De Guzman 4, Lorenzana 3, Soriano 2, Romero 2, Huang 2, Garcia 2, Escalambre 2, Macasaet 0, Kwawukumey 0

QUARTER SCORES: 27-20, 54-43, 75-71, 96-91

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