Tigers unmask Maroons

Kevin Ferrer of UST grabs the rebound ahead of Cheick Kone of UP while teammate Karim Abdul provides support.

MANILA, Philippines - Ed Daquioag put up another stellar performance as University of Santo Tomas snapped the merry run of University of the Philippines, 67-59, to grab the solo lead in the UAAP Season 78 men's basketball tournament at the MOA Arena yesterday.

Assuming the scoring mantle on his final year, Daquioag poured in 17 of his topscoring 27 in the payoff period to power the Tigers to their third straight victory and their best start since 1999.

The Maroons, who were held down to four points in the first quarter but fiercely fought back into the game, suffered their first loss in three outings and slipped to second spot in a tie with Far Eastern U.

The Tams unleashed a game-changing 20-0 windup in the third to cruise to a 93-75 rout of De La Salle and get back on the win track. The Archers, who were led by Jeron Teng's 29, suffered their second straight loss for a 1-2 card.

"Syempre, iba rin yung nakauna ka, magandang start ito para sa amin (It's a good start for us and it put us in a prime position this early)," said UST coach Bong dela Cruz, whose wards went 3-0 before a crowd of 11,705.

"It was a hard game. UP came prepared and good thing, we were able to execute our game plan both on offense and defense," added dela Cruz, whose team also beat UP for the 17 straight time.

Daquioag stepped up just when the Maroons threatened in the stretch from beyond the arc. The high-flying UST star scored eight points in a crucial 8-5 assault that handed the EspaƱa-based squad a 61-54 cushion going to the last 37.9 seconds.

"I'm one of the leaders of this team so I have to set a good example and play with a lot of confidence," said Daquioag, who also topscored with 28 and 18 in UST's two previous victories over Adamson 70-64, and powerhouse Far Eastern, 72-71.

From more of a defensive player and back-up to the likes of Jeric Teng and Jeric Fortuna, Daquiaog has come into his own and emerged as a lethal scoring threat for the Tigers.

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