MANILA, Philippines – Even without star swingman Jeric Teng, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers encountered little trouble defeating the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors, 85-69, in the men’s basketball tournament of the UAAP Season 75 Sunday at the Araneta Coliseum.
Big man Karim Abdul scattered 20 points on top of 19 rebounds and two blocks to lead the Tigers, but it was Louie Vigil and Kevin Ferrer who stepped up in the absence of Teng.
With Teng sitting out the game due to a partial MCL tear, Vigil and Ferrer responded with their best games of the season. Vigil did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 10 points and finished the game with 13 markers.
Ferrer picked up where Vigil left off in the second half of the game, draining four three-pointers en route to a season high 16-points.
The Tigers took control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring the Warriors 26-12. Point guard Jeric Fortuna led the way for the Tigers, scoring five points in the period while setting up shots for Vigil, Abdul and Clark Bautista.
Meanwhile, the Warriors found scoring opportunities hard to come by with main offensive option Roi Sumang sitting on the bench for much of the first half.
Sumang finished with 13 points in the contest, but was sitting on the bench while the Tigers broke the game wide open in the second period. JR Sumido had a career-high 21 points, but the UE big man had trouble dealing with the Tigers’ bigger frontline.
To add to the Warriors’ woes, big man Sam Razon went down with a knee injury late in the second quarter and had to be sent to a nearby hospital.
The Tigers won their fourth straight game, with their lone loss coming to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in their season opener.
Meanwhile, the Warriors remain winless in five games this season.