UST Growling Tigers def. FEU Tamaraws 78-70
Zach Huang, UST (20 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal)
It was a career night for UST’s big men. Following up on his great performance against UP, Huang registered a career-high in points against a squad that is tops in defending the paint. He seemingly didn’t care as he repeatedly got in layups and frequent trips to the FT line. He was just a force offensively. It’s great to see how he’s finally found his place and the league and is steadily improving.
Germy Mahinay, UST (10 points, 8 rebounds, 1 block)
Mahinay also had a career night playing his best ball. With Steve Akomo already out and Enrique Caunan going down with an ankle injury in the middle of the game, the rookie stepped up big. He battled for boards and didn’t hesitate to bang bodies with Prince Orizu. He even had a few highlight plays including a slow-motion drive to the rim from the perimeter.
Arvin Tolentino, FEU (11 points, 11 rebounds, 1 steal, 1 block)
Back from a one-game suspension, Tolentino was largely non-existent throughout the whole game. He did grab a few rebounds but that was it. He suddenly came alive near the end of the fourth quarter though when he scored 8 straight points including back-to-back triples. Unfortunately, FEU’s run fell short and he found himself ejected from the game once again for an inadvertent forearm to the face. It just hasn’t been a good week for Arvin.
- The biggest story here would have to be the complete lack of production from FEU’s guards. While UST’s CJ Cansino had a lackluster scoring game, Marvin Lee and Renzo Subido more than made up for it. As for the Tamaraws, they just couldn’t squeeze anything from their usual contributors in Wendel Comboy, Jasper Parker and Hubert Cani. And it wasn’t like the Growling Tigers were playing lockdown defense. It’s not a knock on them but the Tamaraw guards just couldn’t buy a basket all game.
- The difference in big man play was also apparent. As mentioned earlier, Orizu had a tough time against the heft of Caunan and Mahinay after scoring 8 points in the opening period and zero the rest of the way. Richard Escoto was actually a handful for UST as his toughness led to Huang getting into foul trouble early. But once again, FEU couldn’t get anything more out of them. Tolentino did have his points but most of them were from the perimter. They just had no answer for the motor and aggressiveness of Aldin Ayo’s young bigs.
- There are concerns with FEU still figuring things out and it did kind of show in this game with how many different lineup changes Olsen Racela tried. They employed a 3-2 zone and 2-2-1 fullcourt press at certain that did work to get them back into the game. It made UST uncomfortable and even forced Huang to try and break the press by himself. They even tried a 3-point guard lineup and even a Tolentino-Escoto frontline. The latter was utterly demolished by the high motor of their opposition.