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No pressure for Sablan to regain the crown

With three months of preparation, Growling Tigers head coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan feels no pressure to bring back the crown to the University, 10 years after its last trip to España.

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STANDING FROM PREVIOUS SEASON: 11-3 (2nd Place)
 
KEY LOSSES: Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquiaog, Karim Abdul, Kyle Suarez
 
KEY RETURNEES: Louie Vigil, Jamil Sheriff, Kent Lao
 
KEY ADDITIONS: William Afoukwah, Tsutomu Tateishi
 
With three months of preparation, Growling Tigers head coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan feels no pressure to bring back the crown to the University, 10 years after its last trip to España.

“[Personally,] wala. ‘Yung kalaban na lang ‘yung [i-pressure] natin,” Sablan said. “Wala, kasi what do you expect grumaduate ‘yung tatlo [Ferrer, Daquiaog, and Abdul].”

He said that the team feels no pressure as majority of the players this season were benched in last season’s campaign.

“Sa ngayon sa taas ng confidence level nila, iba,” Sablan  explained. “Gulatin natin ‘yung Ateneo.”
 
New beginnings
 
After controversy plagued the team and its former coaching staff, Sablan needed to motivate the Tigers to impose the system that he wants.

“Nag-umpisa ako sa wala talaga. So ang ginawa ko, I have to talk motivation,” Sablan recalled. “Ang daming factors na ginamit ko para ma-motivate ko sila and at the same time sumunod din sila dun sa sistema na gusto ko.”

As a deputy to Pido Jarencio from 2006 to 2012, Sablan only knew three players – Louie Vigil, Kent Lao and Jamil Sheriff. He inherted the team with Vigil and Sheriff’s eligibility to play hanging in the balance, and Lao was the only one he knew.

“Hindi ko sila lahat kilala Sablan admitted. “Ang hirap kasi ‘di ko alam. ‘Kaya ba ni Kent mag-isa?’ Iisa ang beterano ang kilala ko.” 
 
‘No superstars’
 
“Ayoko ng superstar dito not like the previous years na may superstar,” Sablan said.

This is the team’s new mantra in their battle to regain the crown it lost three times in the last four years. 

The past seasons saw ‘King Tigers’ become vocal leaders and leaders in the scoring department, like Jeric Teng and Kevin Ferrer.
This season would be different. Sablan said that Vigil does not consider himself as a star even if he is the team captain.

Sablan also praised the leadership of Vigil saying, “The leadership that Louie gives to the team, grabe. Sinasabi nila sakin, ‘Coach iba si Louie ‘dun sa previous years. Iba ‘yung pagiging captain ball niya, iba ‘yung bonding, iba ‘yung ginawa niya para samin.’”

“Every 10 years nagcha-champion tayo,” Sablan quipped. “[Noong] 1996, 2006, oh kaya nga sinasabi ko lang sa inyo. Magdasal tayo para mag champion tayo.”
 
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Meanwhile, in the women’s division, Tigresses head tactician Haydee Ong feels the same way as Sablan.
 
“Wala naman[g pressure],” Ong quipped. “Sanay na tayo diyan.”
 
She said that her coaching staff is targeting a 5-2 win-loss record in the first round.

Ong, former Perlas Pilipinas head coach, explained that three months of preparations is not enough to share her philosophies, ideas and system to the team, but she said that the team is 75 to 80 percent ready.

Ong, a member of the UST’s four-peat team in the 1980s, said it is a big thing for the players that their coach is a woman and a Thomasian.
 
“Sa history ng women’s basketball ‘yung UST pa rin ‘yung pinakamaraming championships, we have 11 total,” Ong said. “Our goal will be in the finals, but we have to start one game at a time.”
 
The Tigresses and the Tigers will open their campaign against the Ateneo Blue Eagles at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., respectively, today, Sept. 4, at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

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UAAP to cancel, reformat events amid COVID-19

The UST Junior Tigresses and the Adamson Baby Falcons were also proclaimed as co-champions of the inaugural girls’ basketball tournament held earlier this year. 

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The UAAP Flag is presented to UAAP schools rectors and presidents in its season opening in 2016 | Amirah Eloise Banda/TomasinoWeb

With the recent mess brought about by the COVID-19, the UAAP has declared in their recent memorandum that all pending high school events are to be cancelled, while for the college tournaments, a change in the current format. 

“If the government declares it is safe to resume classes on April 15, 2020, and does not prohibit mass gatherings, the UAAP will work toward alternative formats of the competition to begin no earlier than May 1, 2020.” the memorandum stated. 

The memorandum came two days after the declaration of the suspension of classes which is set to last until April 14 and the implementation of strict social distancing measures in the National Capital Region (NCR)

The UST Junior Tigresses and the Adamson Baby Falcons were also proclaimed as co-champions of the inaugural girls’ basketball tournament held earlier this year. 

Prior to the cancellation, the collegiate volleyball tournament had already started while other sports such as baseball, softball, and football were well on there way to open their respective seasons. 

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Laure sisters take charge in UST’s demolition of FEU

The UST Golden Tigresses dismantled the FEU Lady Tamaraws in straight sets, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18 to complete a bounce back ordeal in the UAAP season 82 womens’ volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday, March 3. 

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Photo by Ralph Rainell Estrella/TomasinoWeb

The UST Golden Tigresses dismantled the FEU  Lady Tamaraws in straight sets, 25-20, 25-16, 25-18 to complete a bounce back ordeal in the UAAP season 82 womens’ volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday, March 3. 

Led by their prized duo in the Laure sisters, the Tigresses easily cruised to victory as the Lady Tamaraws found no answer to UST’s red hot offense. 

The younger Eya scored a game high 16 points, while the elder EJ had 12 of her own. Veteran Caitlyn Viray and rookie Imee Hernandez had nine and seven markers respectively. 

“Number one adjustment na ginawa namin yung constant communication, especially pag nasa loob, yung nasa labas kasi talagang dire-diretso na kami sa pagbigay ng instructions so mas maganda yung naging receiver namin, yung mga player namin,” UST head coach Emilio Kung Fu Reyes remarked when asked as to what improvements his team made heading into the game. 

Save for the first set, UST found no problems as they swept FEU, especially in the third set that saw the Tigresses go up by as much as 10 points. 

UST also had 45 attack points in total, a stark contrast to FEU’s 27.

Jeanette Villareal and Czarina Carandang had seven points apiece to lead the Lady Tamaraws while Ivana Agudo had six in the losing cause. 

With the win, both teams are now tied with a 1-1 record. 

UST is set to take on the DLSU Lady Spikers next.

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FEU outruns UST in five sets

Four days removed from their opening loss against NU, the UST Tiger Spikers fell anew to the FEU Tamaraws after a five-set thriller in the first round of the UAAP season 82 men’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday, March 8. 

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Photo by Ralph Rainell Estrella/ TomasinoWeb

Four days removed from their opening loss against NU, the UST Tiger Spikers fell anew to the FEU Tamaraws after a five-set thriller, 21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 22-25, 12-15 in the first round of the UAAP season 82 men’s volleyball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay on Sunday, March 8. 

After a back and forth affair in the first two sets, UST seemed ready to pull away as they took a 2-1 lead against the Tamaraws before the Morayta- based squad managed to keep their composure and took the next two sets to take the game. 

The fifth set saw the Tiger Spikers struggle against FEU who had momentum on their side after winning the fourth set, and as much as UST was on its way to closing the gap, the Tamaraws ultimately sealed the game courtesy of Jude Garcia. 

Joshua Umandal had 21 points to lead the Tiger Spikers for the second straight game, while Jhun Senoron and Manuel Medina flanked him with 17 and 10 markers respectively.

For FEU, Jude Garcia led the charge with 27 points. Jose Javelona and JP Bugaoan had 13 apiece and Mark Calado chipped in 12 markers of his own.

The game now puts UST at a 0-2 record, while FEU stays unbeaten at 2-0. 

The Tiger Spikers will look to bounce back against DLSU on March 15.

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