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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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Basketball

Abando-less UST bows out of PCCL contention

The UST Growling Tigers were eliminated by the San Beda Red Lions, 68-77, in a matchup between the UAAP and NCAA runner ups in the final day of eliminations in the 2020 PCCL UAAP-NCAA Challenge.

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Ralph Rainell Estrella/TomasinoWeb

The UST Growling Tigers were eliminated by the San Beda Red Lions, 68-77, in a matchup between the UAAP and NCAA runner ups in the final day of eliminations in the 2020 PCCL UAAP-NCAA Challenge held at the FilOil Flying V Center in San Juan Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020.

James Kwekuteye led the Legarda-based squad with 14 points and seven assists with the help of Peter Alfaro finishing with 13 markers and two clutch offensive rebounds, while UST’s team captain CJ Cansino held his own with 21 points and nine boards.

It was slow start for both teams until San Beda drew first blood while the Tigers still in the cold missing Rhenz Abando’s presence because of sore eyes.

Free-throws helped UST keep themselves in the game despite their dismal 3/20 shooting while San Beda fared better at 7/19 ending the first half doubling their lead of six from the first quarter, 39-27.

UST entered the second half strong, with their three-pointers starting to go in, but a relentless Red Lion squad and a slump to end the third quarter had them with a 46-62 deficit heading into the fourth.

Momentum shifted to the España side as the final canto arrived with consecutive turnovers from San Beda and huge buckets from Brent Paraiso and CJ Cansino cut the deficit down to single-digits.

However, UST struggled to knock their free throws down as San Beda regained their composure to ultimately pull away with the win.

Brent Paraiso chipped in 12 points while reigning UAAP MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo faced another another scoring slump finishing with only six points and nine rebounds. Mark Nonoy was also unsuccessful in finding his range with nine markers and seven boards.

San Beda’s Ralph Penuela finished with 11 points and five dimes and big man Kenmark Cariño with 10 points, seven boards, and two blocks.

Reigning NCAA MVP Calvin Oftana finished with a dismal outing, scoring only six points.

San Beda will now advance to the Final Four of the tournament happening next weekend, Feb. 22-23 at the Davao City Recreational Center. Richie Paul Brillo 

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Basketball

Emotions stop UST from getting back against Ateneo

UST will face the NCAA runner-ups San Beda Red Lions next on the final day of eliminations.

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Ralph Reinell Estrella/TomasinoWeb

The UST Growling Tigers was handed its first loss by the defending UAAP champions the Ateneo Blue Eagles, 71-82, in the 2020 Philippine Collegiate Champions League’s UAAP-NCAA Challenge at the FilOil Flying V Centere in San Juan on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.

Lots of drama happened from the start up to the end as the rivals of the UAAP from España and Katipunan squared up once again, with SJ Belangel proving to be the new “King Eagle” after scoring 26 points while for the Tigers, Renz Abando and Deo Cuajao finished with 14 points each. 

Belangel stepped up to give Ateneo the early lead with the help of the team’s chippy defense that led to UST’s sloppy 7 turnovers to start the game.

Along with Belangel’s efforts and Ateneo’s defense, high-level rebounding and sloppy fouls from the Tigers led to an early 15-29 deficit for UST.

Deo Cuajao and Rhenz Abando combined for an 8-0 run in the second quarter that helped UST back into the game, along with better rebounding overall, however turnovers and Ateneo maintaining their composure culminated in the Tigers trailing 38-48 after the first 20 minutes.

In the third quarter, UST started off strong before SJ Belangel proceeded to erupt for three consecutive triples to extinguish UST’s momentum.

Ultimately the Tigers ended the third quarter on a high note with momentum on their side, especially after fouls on Pat Maagdenberg and head coach Tab Baldwin. 

Heading into the fourth quarter with a score of 65-66, UST was outscored by the defending  UAAP champs 16-6, with Ateneo functioning well on both sides of the floor, courteousy of SJ Belangel’s orchestration and Ange Kouame’s inside presence. 

UST team captain CJ Cansino chipped in 10 markers and former NSNU Bullpup Paul Manalang contributed 6 dimes, while reigning UAAP MVP Soulemane Chabi Yo only scored five points along with six rebounds. 

Ateneo’s Kouame however finished with double-double of 15 points and 13 boards helped by the new Fil-Am recruit Dwight Ramos with eight markers and three assists. 

UST will face the NCAA runner-ups San Beda Red Lions next on the final day of eliminations on Saturday (Feb. 15) at the same venue. R. P. Brillo

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Volleyball

UST goes back to undefeated ways in juniors’ beach volleyball tourney

The UAAP season 82 juniors’ beach volleyball tournament is set to conclude next Saturday, Feb. 15, at the same venue.

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Veronica Besario/TomasinoWeb

The UST Junior Tiger Spikers and Junior Tigresses managed to sweep their way through once again in day four of the UAAP season 82 juniors’ beach volleyball tournament at the SM Sands by the Bay in Pasay on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020.

Alex Iraya and Jay Dela Noche won their lone match of the day with a 21-14, 21-14 sweep over the UE Junior Red Warriors, bringing their record to a clean 6-0 four days into the tournament.

For the Junior Tigresses, Vanessa Bangayan and Julianna Carreon bounced back from last Saturday’s loss to the UE Junior Red Warriors with back-to-back sweeps against the FEU Baby Tamaraws and the Adamson Baby Falcons, with final scores of 21-17, 21-17 and 21-18, 21-10, respectively.

The UAAP season 82 juniors’ beach volleyball tournament is set to conclude next Saturday, Feb. 15, at the same venue.

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