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UST nips Warriors

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas’ Marvin Lee holds on to the ball against University of the East defenders during UAAP action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Tigers won, 88-85. (MB Photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

UNIVERSITY of Santo Tomas’ Marvin Lee holds on to the ball against University of the East defenders during UAAP action at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. The Tigers won, 88-85. (MB Photo | Rio Leonelle Deluvio)

By JEROME LAGUNZAD

University of Santo Tomas coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan walked inside the press room like a conquering hero after steering the Tigers to their first victory Sunday at the expense of University of the East, 88-85, yesterday in the UAAP basketball tournament.

“Siyempre masaya, kasi hindi kami na-zero,” said Sablan who barely averted the ignominy of becoming the first UST coach to finish the season without a victory.

Sablan, who took over the coaching chore last year, said the team is undergoing a rebuilding process.

“Ito ‘yung part ng rebuilding process namin, ‘yung transition from two coaches na dumaan. Kailangan ‘yung pinagdaanan ng mga ito, iaayos muna natin,” he said.

The Tigers finished the season with a 1-13 win-loss record.

But for Marvin Lee, who hit 11 points in the crunch, the victory felt special.

“Masarap sa pakiramdam dahil matagal rin kaming naghintay para makuha ‘to. Para na kaming nag-champion,” said the 5-foot-9 Lee, whose two free throws with 11.1 seconds gave the Tigers an 86-83 lead.

Cameroon big man Steve Akomo led UST with 18 points, 20 rebounds and six blocks.

The Warriors closed out with their 11th loss in 14 matches.

Scores:
UST 88 — Basibas 21, Akomo 18, Caunan 14, Lee 11, Garcia 10, De Guzman 6, Sta. Ana 4, Escalambre 2, Macasaet 2, Romero 0, Huang 0, Faundo 0.

UE 85 — Pasaol 18, Varilla 16, Maloles 15, Conner 10, Acuño 8, Cullar 7, Manalang 7, Bartolome 2, Olayon 2, Derige 0.

Quarters: 23-15, 43-39, 63-61, 88-85.

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