MANILA, Philippines -- Nic Cabañero fired seven of his 26 points in extra time and also recorded the game-sealing steal in University of Sto. Tomas' (UST) hard-fought 96-91 double-overtime decision against San Beda University, Monday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
It was a sensational afternoon for Cabañero, who drilled the three-pointer with 25.7 seconds left in regulation that sent the game into overtime. He took charge in the extra period to carry the Growling Tigers back on track in the 2022 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
The two teams traded buckets in the last minute of regulation, before a triple by Justine Sanchez gave San Beda a 78-75 lead. But Cabañero, a former Red Cub, answered the call for UST with his own long-distance conversion 15 seconds later.
"Gusto ko talagang manalo against this team e. Sobrang blessed, sobrang saya na nakuha namin 'to," Cabañero said after the game, where he also collected seven rebounds, three steals, and two assists in 33 minutes to help his side rise to 2-4 in Group B.
Both squads still didn't let up in the first overtime until Cabañero's five straight points punctuated the Growling Tigers' 7-0 start to the second extra period. Down by seven, San Beda still didn't quit and pulled to within three, 91-94, with under a minute left courtesy of a Sanchez layup.
The Red Lions even had a golden opportunity to come closer, but James Kwekuteye's fastbreak attempt was foiled by Cabañero who stole the ball and forwarded it to a wide open Sherwin Concepcion for an easy basket and a five-point UST edge.
"Big win ito para sa players, sa aming coaches, sa aming lahat kasi rito nila makikita na 'yung pinapasok naming sistema e epektibo," said acting head coach Ronald Magtulis, speaking on behalf of new shot-caller Bal David, as UST stayed in the hunt for a quarterfinals berth out of Group B.
Concepcion had 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, while Kean Baclaan nearly missed out on a triple-double with 22 markers, nine assists, and nine rebounds to backstop Cabañero.
For 1-4 San Beda, JB Bahio fronted the effort with a 21-point, 11-rebound double-double, while Kwekuteye contributed an all-around 14 markers, eight rebounds, five steals, and four assists.
In the final game of the day, Lyceum of the Philippines University clinched a spot in the next round after withstanding a late charge from San Sebastian College-Recoletos, 75-64.
Renzo Navarro was at the head of the attack and wound up with 13 points, four assists, and three rebounds, while Maverick Venoya chipped in 12 markers, six rebounds, and four assists in the Pirates' back-to-back wins.
"Yung wins na ito na nakukuha namin, sobrang laking bagay kasi nakikita naming nagwo-work 'yung tinatrabaho namin. Sana magtuloy-tuloy," said Navarro, as he also captained their 15-2 surge that erased a four-point deficit and erected a 67-58 advantage inside the last four minutes.
Now holding a 5-2 win-loss card, Lyceum is assured of a spot in the crossover quarterfinals, while also pushing down the Golden Stags to a 2-3 standing. Milo Janao topped San Sebastian's win column with 18 points.