Sunday, July 6, 2008

Warriors devour Tigers in season opener

The UST Growling Tigers has a lot of shooters to complement Season 70 MVP Jervy Cruz so that the Tigers can have a good mix of inside and outside plays. Jervy, nursing a pulled hamstring, worked doubly hard as he scored 26 points and pulled down 22 rebounds with 12 coming from the offensive end to make up with the lackluster shooting of their team as the UE Red Warriors went on to snatch a nail biting 78-73 win in the opening of game of season 71 of the UAAP.

If you saw the first quarter of the game then one can say that this season’s 71st UAAP will be fast paced filled with high octane offense. UE Started like a house on fire as James Martinez, Marcy Arellano and Elmer Espiritu led the charge for an early 7 point lead 11-4. UST Coach Pido Jarencio, sensing that they will be blown out if he doesn’t do anything, sends injured first stringers Dylan Ababou and last year’s MVP Jervy Cruz in the game. The result was very encouraging for the Tigers as Ababou scored 5 points right away while Cruz was a monster in the middle which resulted in a 26-24 first quarter lead as the UST Tigers attacked UE’s press relentlessly.

The second quarter saw both teams settle down and tighten their defense. UE seized the upperhand as their defense on the Tiger’s shooters made them suddenly become cold. A triple team on Jervy Cruz in every possession limited the MVP’s scoring as he ended the half with 10 points and 5 rebounds. Hans Thiele teamed up with JM Noble and Gino Etrone as Thiele scored 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting together with 6 rebounds all in the 2nd quarter. His offensive outburst gave helped the Warriors erect a 50-39 lead going to the locker at the half. The Tigers had 6 turnovers in the 2nd quarter which the Warriors capitalized with was 12 points off turnovers by the Warriors. In the end the Tigers had a hard time keeping up with the Warrior’s offense as the Tigers shot an anemic 12 of 33 shooting against UE’s 50% (18 of 36) shooting.

In the third quarter Chester Taylor waxed hot as he scored 6 straight points for the Tigers while Marcy Arellano countered with 7 points on his own as the Warriors threatened to pull away with a 57-47 lead. James Martinez and Paul Lee combined for another run as the Warriors got their biggest lead 63-49. The Tigers clawed back to cut the lead of UE to six, 64-58 as they ended the quarter with a 9 -1 run presided by Jervy Cruz’s inside presence and sealed by Jap’s Cuan‘s free throw. This happened after Warrior Guard Paul Lee was ejected for Trash Talking. It was his second Technical foul after he was called on a double technical in the first half together with Dylan Ababou.

In the fourth quarter, UST relied solely on Jervy Cruz as they came back to within two points 66-68 after UE suddenly could not buy a basket. James Martinez missed 3 three point field goals while Marcy Arellano was groping for form. In the end it was Pari Llagas and Elmer Espiritu bailed UE from a disappointing collapse. Llagas scored on a three point play off a follow up as he gave UE the insurance basket when the Tigers threatened. Elmer Espiritu on the other hand scored four points in the last minute on two free throws off a Mark Canlas foul and the cold blooded jumper off the Tigers to give them 76-69 lead with 18 seconds left.

The shooters of UST never got their rhythm as Khasim Mirza, Francis Allera and Dylan Ababou came up short as the Tigers combined for 2 of 20 from beyond the arc. It was a sorry loss for the tigers as Dylan Ababou suffered his fourth straight opening day loss. Elmer Espiritu paced the Warriors with 15 points, Hans Thiele had 13 points while Marcy Arellano played a good all around game with 11 points, 7 rebounds and 7 assists.

This much excitement in the UAAP and its just the first game of the season. Here's to more excitement ahead.

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