Tiger Cubs blast DLSZ with second half run, logs opening day victory
By Ernest Martin Tuazon
The UST Tiger Cubs utilized a second half run against the DLSZ Junior Archers to snatch an opening-day victory in the UAAP Season 85 juniors basketball tournament, 56–46, Sunday morning, at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
After trailing by nine at the half, the Tiger Cubs opened the third salvo with a 15–2 run powered by James Jumao-As and capped off with triples by JP Pangilinan and Charles Bucsit to take a four-point lead, 32–28.
In the earlier quarters, UST began on the wrong side of things as they could not score through its midway points, but a nine-point spurt in the second frame trimmed the DLSZ lead to nine, 17–26.
Jumao-As and Charles Esteban were the closers that the Tiger Cubs needed as their offensive contributions translated to defense, holding DLSZ to eight lone points in the final salvo compared to UST’s 18.
The Junior Archers were able to inch within four in the dying minutes of the fourth quarter, but the Tiger Cubs responded with six points inside the paint to seal the University’s first win in the tournament, 56–46.
When their perimeter shots were not falling, UST banked on their interior presence with 30 points in the paint (15-of-27, 55.6-percent) unlike DLSZ’s 20 markers on poor efficiency (10-of-27, 37-percent).
On the defensive end, compared to La Salle’s 26-point first half showing, the Tiger Cubs were able to hold DLSZ to 20 markers in the next half and responded with a 39-point second half.
Opening-day jitters were present as UST committed 18 turnovers and only shot 6-of-15 (40-percent) from the charity stripe.
The Tiger Cubs look to ride the tides of their opening day victory as they face the NSNU Bullpups on Wednesday, 2:00 p.m., at the same venue.
UST (56) — Jumao-As 17, Pangilinan 10, Esteban 10, Llemit 7, Bucsit 6, Pantaleon 6.
DLSZ (46) — Melencio 13, San Agustin 9, Alas 9, Dimaano 7, Melecio 4, Espina 2, Pabellano 2.