MANILA, Philippines - University of Santo Tomas lost in the boardroom battle after the technical committee thumbed down its appeal but won on the hardcourt by trouncing University of the East, 87-75, to clinch a semis berth in the UAAP basketball tournament on Thursday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Jeric Teng scored a career-high 26 points as UST took control in the second half to finish the elims with a 10-4 record - their best mark since an 11-3 outing in 1999.
The league's technical committee had earlier turned down the school's appeal to overturn the decision of commissioner Ato Badolato who junked its protest filed after Saturday's 68-66 loss to defending champion Ateneo.
Agreeing with the points of Badolato that the disputed calls - the non-technical on an irate Eagles coach Norman Black for entering the court and the goal-tending of Karim Abdul that enabled Ryan Buenafe to score the game-winning three-point play - were deemed as judgment calls, the committee immediately threw down the appeal.
The Tigers overcame a lousy first half shooting thanks to Teng, MVP contender Karim Abdul (22 points and nine rebounds) and Aljon Mariano and Clark Bautista who all had 15 markers apiece.
In the other game, La Salle dominated Adamson, 72-59, to secure at least a playoff for a Final Four berth after finishing the elims with a 9-5 card. They can advance outright to the semis if Far Eastern University (9-4) beats National University (8-5) in the replay of their controversial match two weeks ago.
A win by NU, however, will create a three-way tie for third to fifth spots. Should that occur, the Bulldogs will be at No. 3 while La Salle and FEU collide for the final semis slot.