UAAP: Cabañero stars as UST shocks Adamson

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2022 04:20 PM | Updated as of Oct 01 2022 05:02 PM

Nic Cabanero (9) of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers during their match against Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons for the opening games of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 85 held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, October 1, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News
Nic Cabanero (9) of the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers during their match against Adamson University (AdU) Soaring Falcons for the opening games of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) Season 85 held at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, October 1, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA (UPDATED) - Behind a career performance from Nic Cabañero, University of Santo Tomas pulled off a 69-60 shocker over the Adamson Soaring Falcons in their first game of UAAP Season 85, Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Cabañero exploded for 33 points to power the Growling Tigers to an upset of the season's hosts, who had been tabbed as a dark horse contender for a Final 4 spot. 

Not much had been expected from the Tigers in Season 85 after they lost veteran Sherwin Concepcion to an eligibility issue, while promising rookie Kean Baclaan bolted for National University. 

But Cabañero did the heavy lifting on offense, and UST's defense kept Adamson star Jerom Lastimosa in check en route to the opening day victory. 

Cabañero, who turns 19 on Monday, made 13 of his 18 shots and had four assists in 33 minutes. 

He carried the UST offense on his shoulders, as no other Tiger reached double-digits. Christian Manaytay had seven points, while UST's new foreign student-athlete, Adama Faye, had six points and 15 rebounds.

"It's overwhelming kasi grabe ang suporta ng Thomasian community. We're very thankful and blessed na andiyan sila," said UST's new head coach, Bal David, as the Tigers gave the school legend a winning start to his collegiate coaching career.

"Ito kasi magdi-dictate sa amin for the coming weeks. Dito namini makukuha ang kumpiyansa namin," added Cabañero.

With Cabañero proving unstoppable, the Growling Tigers seized control in the first half and led 42-38 at the break. They remained ahead after a defensive grind of a third quarter wherein both teams combined for 12 points. 

The UST lead reached 10 points, 59-49, off a three-pointer by Alvin Mantes with under seven minutes to play. But the Falcons steadily cut into the deficit, and a huge three-pointer by Lastimosa made it a one-possession game, 63-60, with still 56.4 ticks left.

It was Cabañero who responded for the Tigers, with the sophomore guard sinking a clutch jump shot that made it 65-60 with 41.6 seconds left. Off a timeout, Lastimosa missed a triple, and UST sealed the win when they forced Joem Sabandal into a turnover with 24.8 seconds remaining. 

UST held on for the win despite committing 25 turnovers -- nine of which came from Cabañero. The Tigers had a 51-41 advantage in rebounding, and were faster to the ball than the Falcons in hustle situations. 

Cabañero's 33 points were the most since Marvin Lee scored 30 against University of the East in October 2018.

Lenda Douanga led the way for Adamson with 13 points and 13 rebounds, while Lastimosa was held to just 10 points in 33 minutes. The veteran guard also provided five rebounds and four assists.

The Scores:

UST 69 -- Cabanero 33, Manaytay 7, Faye 6, Pangilinan 6, Mantes 5, Mantua 4, Calimag 3, Duremdes 2, Herrera 2, Manalang 1, Lazarte 0, Magdangal 0, Laure 0.

ADAMSON 60 -- Douanga 13, Yerro 13, Lastimosa 10, Hanapi 10, Sabandal 9, V. Magbuhos 3, Barcelona 2, Colonia 0, Manzano 0, Flowers 0, Barasi 0, Torres 0, Manlapaz 0, Jaymalin 0.

Quarters: 23-18, 42-38, 48-42, 69-60.

Catch replays of UAAP Season 84 games via the UAAP Varsity channel on iWantTFC, available for Premium users outside the Philippines.