Rhenz Abando delivered in crunch time to tow University of Sto. Tomas (UST) to an 84-74 overtime win over National University (NU) in Season 82 University Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
Rookie forward Abando scattered 13 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, leading the Tigers to a bounce back win after a 70-71 loss to Ateneo De Manila University last Wednesday.
UST stayed at No. 2 with a 3-1 record.
“This time, the players’ decisions were better. We were able to execute our plays designed for the endgame,” said the Tigers’ head coach Aldin Ayo.
Abando registered four triples and a free throw in the last six and a half minutes of the game.
“It was only in the overtime when I felt that I’m in his (Ayo’s) system,” said the Sto. Tomas, La Union native.
Beninese rookie center Soulemane Chabi Yo posted a double-double of 23 points and 20 rebounds. It was his layup that sent the game to overtime.
Freshman bruiser Sherwin Concepcion also played big with 13 points and six boards for the España-based squad.
Staring at a 60-64 deficit, Abando scored seven points to narrow the gap, 67-68, with 27.7 seconds remaining in the regulation.
Enzo Joson sank a coast-to-coast layup with 6.9 seconds left before Chabi Yo scored with a short stab off Mark Nonoy’s assist with 2.1 ticks to force an extra period.
Abando then sank two triples that gave the Tigers an 81-73 advantage at the 2:40 mark of overtime, virtually securing the victory.
Dave Ildefonso had 16 points and six rebounds, John Lloyd Clemente had 12 markers while Rob Minerva and Joson had 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the winless NU.
It was another heartbreaking defeat for the Bulldogs, who absorbed two one-point losses in the previous outings. They lost 83-84 to Adamson University in overtime and 82-83 to De La Salle University.
Meanwhile, in the women’s division, five-time champion NU extended its winning streak to 83, remaining unbeaten in four games this season after routing UST, 90-48.
One-time MVP Jack Animam led the Lady Bulldogs with 19 points and 14 boards while Kaye Pingol and Kelli Hayes chipped in 15 and 12 markers, respectively.
Lon Rivera had 11 points and reigning MVP Grace Irebu had 10 markers for the Tigresses, who suffer their first defeat after a two-win start.