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UST forces do-or-die tiff



University of Santo Tomas breathed life into its finals campaign on Sunday with an 89-69 victory over University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 82 stepladder semifinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Tigers paced the game throughout behind the efforts of Soulemane Chabi Yo and Rhenz Abando to forge a knockout for the second finals berth on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The winner faces defending champion Ateneo in the best-of-3 finals.

Abando fired 17 points and collared seven rebounds while Chabi Yo unloaded 17 points, 15 boards and four steals.

The win not only kept UST’s championship dreams alive but also reaffirmed its mastery over UP following consecutive victories – 85-69 and 84-78 – over the Maroons in the elims.

UST coach Aldin Ayo said it all boiled down to the players doing their roles.

“It’s all about execution. Lahat ng instructions ko, sinusunod ng players. We were connected out there,” he said.

Inspired by their 81-71 win over Far Eastern University in the first stepladder round, UST continued its hot shooting behind Sherwin Concepcion, Abando, and Mark Nonoy.

The Tigers rifled 11 three-pointers compared to the Maroons’ three.

The Maroons came within 70-61 in the last 4:38, but the Tigers erupted with a 15-4 run highlighted by three triples from Concepcion and Nonoy for a 20-point advantage.

UST smoked the field early with 14-of-31 shooting in the first half for 45 percent anchored on Abando, CJ Cansino, and Renzo Subido. The Tigers used an 11-0 run to break the game open in the first quarter and UP never threatened decisively.

UP managed just four field goals in the second period.