MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) – The University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers avenged their 75th UAAP finals defeat to Ateneo by beating the Blue Eagles, 81-76, in Game 3 to win their first ever Philippine Collegiate Champions League (PCCL) crown on Friday.
But before earning vindication, UST had to weather Ateneo’s searing 9-0 run late in the final period via Kevin Ferrer’s put-back 10 seconds remaining.
UST was enjoying a 79-67 lead on Jeric Teng’s booming triple, 2 minutes left in the game, when Ryan Buenafe launched a huge fight back for Ateneo.
Buenafe’s back-to-back baskets and Kiefer Ravena’s free throws decimated the Tigers’ lead to just 79-76, 30 seconds remaining.
But after a Karim Abdul miss, Ferrer came out of nowhere and tipped the ball to score the clincher for the Tigers.
The succeeding play saw Buenafe going for a desperate three but his shot failed to make its mark.
Teng, who was named as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, led UST with 22 points, most of them coming in the fourth quarter.
Ferrer added 21 for the Tigers to go along with his 9 rebounds and 4 assists.
Teng said the title win was sweet especially after being swept by Ateneo in the UAAP men’s basketball championship.
“It all comes down to 'nabawi' because we lost to Ateneo in the UAAP finals,” said the 6’2” shooting guard during the post game interview.
Teng dedicated the win to his fellow Tigers who played their last year for UST.
“This one is for Coach Pido [Jarencio], [Jeric] Fortuna and [Carmelo] Afuang who will be graduating this year,” he said.
Jarencio was chosen as this year’s PCCL Best Coach.
Ateneo, which edged UST in Game 2, 70-69, was seeking its fourth PCCL title after its 3-year reign was snapped by last year’s champion San Sebastian.
However, the Tigers dictated the tempo in Game 3, enjoying a 45-39 in the first half and a 59-57 advantage going into the final quarter.