Cabañero stars as Tigers hunt down Falcons in UAAP opener

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
Cabañero stars as Tigers hunt down Falcons in UAAP opener
Nic Cabañero of the UST Growling Tigers

MANILA, Philippines (Updated 4:45 p.m.) — Nic Cabañero tallied a new career-high in scoring to lead the UST Growling Tigers to a 69-60 victory to open the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City on Saturday.

Cabañero scored 33 points to lead all scorers in the ball game to give debuting Tigers coach Bal David a win in his first UAAP game with the España squad.

He also became the first player from UST with 30 points in a ball game since Marvin Lee did so against UE back in October 28, 2018.

"Sobrang overwhelmed and blessed ako. Pinagdadasal ko kasi talaga ito," Cabanero said of his performance, who also mentioned his 19th birthday is coming up.

UST held a 10-point lead in the middle of the final frame after leading only by four, 48-44, entering the fourth salvo.

Both teams combined for only 12 points in a low scoring third quarter.

But UST needed to shake off the hosts late in the fourth salvo after the Soaring Falcons got within three, 60-63, off of a Jerom Lastimosa triple.

Fortunately for the Tigers, Cabañero answered right back with a bucket of his own to push the lead back to five, 65-60 with 41.6 left in the game.

That, and two misses from the charity stripe from Lenda Dounga helped UST keep their claws firmly on the win.

Paul Manalang added an insurance free throw to make it even more difficult for Adamson with 26.7 ticks remaining.

To put the nail on the coffin, UST forced a turnover on the Soaring Falcons off of a timeout in the next possession.

No other Growling Tiger reached twin digit scoring apart from Cabañero. Christian Manaytay and Adama Faye added seven and six points, respectively for UST.

Faye, Adamson's foreign student athlete, proved big on the boards, though, as he finished with 15 rebounds.

Dounga and Joshua Yerro had 13 markers each for Adamson in the losing effort.

UST thus begins the season on a high note after a 3-11 record last Season 84.

The Tigers face DLSU next on Wednesday while Adamson will seek a bounce back win over defending champions UP on the same day.

The Scores:

UST 69 -- Cabanero 33, Manaytay 7, Faye 6, Pangilinan 6, Mantes 5, Mantua 4, Calimag 3, Duremdes 2, Herrera 2, Manalang 1, Lazarte 0, Magdangal 0, Laure 0.
ADAMSON 60 -- Douanga 13, Yerro 13, Lastimosa 10, Hanapi 10, Sabandal 9, V. Magbuhos 3, Barcelona 2, Colonia 0, Manzano 0, Flowers 0, Barasi 0, Torres 0, Manlapaz 0, Jaymalin 0.

Quarters: 23-18, 42-38, 48-42, 69-60.


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