MANILA (UPDATED) -- Val Chauca was sensational in the clutch, and Adamson University secured its third win in stunning fashion as they rallied past University of Santo Tomas (UST), 78-71, on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fil-Peruvian guard spearheaded the Soaring Falcons' 16-0 run to end the game, overhauling what had been a 9-point deficit with just over 3 minutes left to play.
Chauca finished with 18 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in the victory, which hiked Adamson's record to 3-2 in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament.
"First of all, we needed that win. As you all know what happened to us the last game," said Adamson head coach Franz Pumaren, referring to their heartbreaking loss to University of the Philippines last Sunday wherein they squandered a 7-point lead in overtime to lose 83-82.
Jerrick Ahanmisi had 24 points on 9-of-19 shooting, while Chauca had 18 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in a superb all-around performance.
The Falcons had gotten off to a good start thanks to Ahanmisi, who broke out of a slump to score 12 points in the opening quarter. But the Growling Tigers soon took control behind their 3-point shooting, and were ahead 58-48 entering the final quarter.
They were still ahead, 71-62, with 3:07 to go after two charities by Sherwin Concepcion.
It turned out to be the last points that UST would put on the board, as the Falcons put the clamps on them for the rest of the game.
"I just had to tell everybody, stay within the course, and of course, we got a big lift from Val," said Pumaren.
A 3-pointer by Jerom Lastimosa got Adamson's run going, with Chauca adding a pair of free throws. A turnover by UST's Brent Paraiso on the inbound pass led to another possession for Adamson, and Chauca cashed in with a triple that made it a one-point game, 71-70, with 1:19 left.
Mark Nonoy missed a triple after UST's timeout, and Paraiso committed his fifth and final foul to send Chauca to the line with 60 seconds to go. The transferee from Enderun coolly sank his free throws, giving Adamson the lead for good.
The Falcons stood tall on defense in the next possession, with Simon Camacho smothering Nonoy on the drive, leading to a wide-open bucket in transition for Ahanmisi. UST would commit a shot-clock violation in their next trip down, and Ahanmisi and Lastimosa would ice the game from the free throw line.
"This game really wasn't about any of the x's and o's. We knew the game plan, we knew exactly what they were gonna do. But at the end of the day, this game was all heart," said Chauca.
Soulemane Chabi Yo had 17 points and 15 rebounds to lead UST, while CJ Cansino, Concepcion, and Nonoy had 10 points each. But UST shot just 32.47% from the field; Nonoy and Concepcion combined to make just 5 of 25 field goals.
Adamson converted 40% of their shots, and outscored UST 30-13 in the final frame.
The Tigers dropped to 3-2, tying Adamson for third place in the league standings.
ADAMSON 78 - Ahanmisi 24, Chauca 18, Douanga 9, Fermin 7, Lastimosa 6, Mojica 5, Magbuhos 4, Camacho 3, Manlapaz 2, Bernardo 0, Flowers 0, Yerro 0, Zaldivar 0.
UST 71 - Chabi Yo 17, Cansino 10, Concepcion 10, Nonoy 10, Abando 9, Subido 6, Huang 4, Paraiso 3, Pangilinan 2, Ando 0, Caunan 0, Cuajao 0
QUARTER SCORES: 19-15, 33-38, 48-58, 78-71.
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