After engaging in a tight battle early in the game, University of Santo Tomas came alive late in the fourth quarter to pull off a 68-58 victory over University of the Philippines in UAAP Season 75 action Wednesday at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
Prized center Karim Abdul exploded for 20 points and 12 rebounds to carry the Tigers to their fifth straight victory despite missing star guard Jeric Teng because of an injury.
“Sana magtuloy-tuloy na ito, wag na sana nilang putulin,” said UST coach Pido Jarencio of the winning streak, the longest during his helm with the Tigers. “Pinagpapala pa tayo.”
The game was still close in the fourth quarter before UST unloaded a 7-0 run to take a 62-54 lead with 1:17 left.
Clark Bautista chipped in 12 points, while Kim Lo added hit 11 for UST. Guard Jeric Fortuna also scored 10 points.
Even though UST is currently the hottest team in the league, Jarencio says he tries not to pay any mind to the winning streak.
“Di nga kami pinag-uusapan, ngayon pa kami ma-pe-pressure,” Jarencio said, whose only defeat came in the season opener last July 14, a 73-72 loss to Far Eastern University. “Ang sarap-sarap ng buhay namin e, ma-pressure ka kapag pinag-uusapan ka tapos ‘di ka nananalo.”
Mike Silungan and Mark Lopez registered 10 points apiece to lead UP, which now remains the only winless team after losing its sixth straight game.