University of Santo Tomas captured its first victory with a late rally at the expense of the winless University of the East, 74-62, in the UAAP Season 84 men's basketball tournament, Thursday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.
The Red Warriors were in the front seat most of the second half but could not pull away completely from the gritty Growling Tigers, always knocking at the door.
Then UST made a game-deciding run.
Then trailing by a point, 61-62, Nic Cabañero, Bryan Santos, and Sherwin Concepcion connived for 11 straight points for the Tigers highlighted by back-to-back triples by the latter to pull away late, 72-62, with just 1:10 left on the clock.
"Sa una talaga, gusto namin makuha yung panalo," said UST coach Jinino Manansala. "Nakita namin yung lakas namin kaya nakuha namin yung panalo."
Concepcion scorched hot from deep, burying 6-of-9 to end with a career-high 25 points, five rebounds, and three assists.
Cabanero and Christian Manaytay each supplied 12 points while Santos had a double-double of 10 points and 12 rebounds.
The Tigers caused a four-way logjam for fourth place with Far Eastern University, National University, and Adamson University, all at 1-2.
Aurin Catacutan uncorked 17 points and five rebounds for the 0-3 Warriors.
UST looks to build on its momentum when it collides with AdU on Saturday at 4 pm. Before that, UE battles University of the Philippines at 1 pm.
UST 74 - Concepcion 25, Cabanero 12, Manaytay 12, Santos 10, Fontanilla 8, Yongco 3, Ando 2, Pangilinan 2, Manalang 0, Garing 0, Mantua 0, Samudio 0, Gomez de Liano 0, Canoy 0.
UE 62 - Catacutan 17, Pagsanjan 10, Escamis 9, Antiporda 7, Lorenzana 5, Paranada N. 4, Beltran 4, Guevarra 4, Sawat 2, Paranada K. 0, Tulabut 0. Cruz 0, Villanueva 0.
Quarterscores: 25-24, 36-39, 50-53, 74-62.
Dennis Lachica, Sportsmanila Photojournalist