By Ernest Martin Tuazon
The UST Tiger Cubs (1–1) encountered their first defeat in the UAAP Season 85 high school boys basketball tournament to a 26-point annihilation of the NSNU Bullpups (2–0), 58–84, Wednesday afternoon, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
After posting a poor eight-point first quarter showing, the Tiger Cubs fell victim to a 15–2 run in the second frame that expanded the Bullpups’ lead to 18 at the half, 21–39.
Budding stars James Jumao-As and JB Pangilinan tried to breathe life into Espana with a 7–0 run lifted by four free throws and a three-pointer, but NSNU star guard Reinhard Jumamoy nailed two consecutive long bombs to silence a possible UST comeback.
To close out the third salvo, UST’s Kobe Naron and Kurt Velasquez teamed up for a nine-point swing, but the Bullpups still remained in control with a 21-point lead, 42–63.
NSNU placed the nail in the coffin with a 13–3 run midway through the final period led by their bench mob of Kurt Penciano and Pervi Timbang to silence UST, 50–82.
This win from NSNU continued their dominant four-year winning streak in UAAP competition, where they last lost to Adamson University on December 12, 2018.
The starting cast of the Tiger Cubs was a non-factor offensively as they only scored 25 points compared to NSNU’s whopping 54 markers, led by four Bullpups in double figures.
Unlike their opening day victory against DLSZ, UST could not shrug off their offensive rust as they shot a dismal 16-of-70 (22.9-percent) from the field, compared to NSNU’s 31-of-77 (40.3-percent).
The Tiger Cubs continued their woes from the charity stripe with a poor 17-of-33 (51.5-percent) on their free throw attempts.
Led by former Growling Tigers head coach Jinino Manansala, the UST Tiger Cubs look to rebound from their first loss of the season against Batang Gilas stalwart Kobe Demisana’s UP Integrated School on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the same venue.
NSNU (84) — Jumamoy 17, Colonia 16, Clarito 15, Timbang 13, Perciano 4, Yusi 4, Tagotongan 3, Alfanta 2, Usop 2, Demetria 2, Solomon 2, Herrera 2, Barraca 2
UST (58) — Pangilinan 11, Jumao-as 10, Llemit 7, Neron 7, Velasquez 5, Zanoria 5, Esteban 4, Bucsit 4, Ayon 3, Manding 2
Quarterscores: 8–13, 21–39, 42–63, 58–84.