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Rebuilt Growling Tigers squad seek growth in this UAAP season

Season 81 provided a glimmer of hope for the España faithful, and the upcoming Season 82 seeks to be the culmination of the unexpected rebuild the Tigers have entered. 

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Kuha ni Christine Annmarie Tapawan

Despite coming off a still subpar 5-9 season which resulted in a sixth-place finish in the previous UAAP season, the UST Growling Tigers have come a long way from being the dismal team that recorded only THREE wins in two seasons under former coach Rodil “Boy” Sablan. 

It may still be well below the winning standard the school has been known for, but know this—even with that finish, Season 81 provided a glimmer of hope for the España faithful, and the upcoming Season 82 seeks to be the culmination of the unexpected rebuild the Tigers have entered. 

This year, the Tigers come in with a reloaded core, bringing in fresh talent such as the season 81 Tiger Cub standout Mark Nonoy, former CDSL big man Soulemane Chabi Yo and the all-around wing from Pangasinan, Rhenz Abando – who all put on good performances in preseason tournaments such as the PBA D-League and the recently concluded NBA 5v5 in Shanghai, China. 

Rounding out the fresh talent UST has right now would be Brent Paraiso, who was part of the De LaSalle University Green Archers team that won the UAAP crown during Season 80 is also set to debut for the Growling Tigers this season after serving his one-year residency following his transfer from the Taft-based squad to España. 

Going along with the new recruits would be holdovers expected to play leadership roles for the young team—familiar names such as team captain and King Tiger CJ Cansino, Renzo Subido and Zach Huang who are set to play in their final seasons for UST will be taking on the roles of battle-tested veterans who will mentor their young core of players.

To add icing on the cake, multi-titled mentor Aldin Ayo is set to return as head coach as well along with the rest of his coaching staff for their second year with the black and gold.

“Well, last year, we finished sixth. This year if we finish fifth it’s already an achievement, but of course, we’re not gonna settle for that.” the two-time champion coach explained when asked about his expectations for the season. 

When asked about the prospect of returning to the Final Four, Ayo simply said that the team will be doing their best and make sure that this season is better than the last.

“Well, we’re just going to do our best and we’re just making sure that this season is better than our previous season,” he said.

With all the pieces now lined up for UST, elite coaching staff and a talented pool of players both old and anew, it is now up to them to mesh and complement all these pieces together to either finally turn back to being Final Four contenders or add another year to their rebuilding process. 

UST is set to open their campaign against the UE Red Warriors at the Araneta Coliseum on September 4, Wednesday.

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Ayo, nagsalita na tungkol sa isyu kay Cansino at sa ‘training bubble’ sa Sorsogon ng Tigers

Naglabas na ng pahayag ang UST head coach na si Aldin Ayo para sagutin ang mga katanungan tungkol sa biglaang pag-tanggal sa dating team captain na si CJ Cansino, at ang hinihinalang “training bubble” ng kanyang koponan sa Sorsogon.

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Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

Pagkatapos ang dalawang araw ng katahimikan, naglabas na ng pahayag ang UST head coach na si Aldin Ayo para sagutin ang mga katanungan tungkol sa biglaang pag-tanggal sa dating team captain na si CJ Cansino, at ang hinihinalang “training bubble” ng kanyang koponan sa Sorsogon.

Sa pahayag na nilabas nito noong Linggo ng gabi, isinaad ni Ayo ang pagkakaiba ng pananaw sa buhay, at na lumabas ang mga pagkakaibang ito ngayong panahon ng pandemya.

“The circumstances of life today have brought out the marked differences between my orientation in life and the fundamental option of our player CJ Cansino,” sabi ni Ayo sa kanyang pahayag.

“We have found that it would be best that we part ways and allow maximum growth for each other. We wish him the Best of Providence in his new endeavor with a different team. We express our gratitude for the years and effort he poured so generously for UST,” idinagdag nito.

Tinanggal umano ang homegrown product ng Unibersidad dahil sa pagsasalita para sa mga manlalarong gusto nang umuwi sa kanilang pamilya galing sa “training bubble” at ito ay nakatakdang maglaro para sa UP Fighting Maroons sa UAAP Season 84 sapagkat base sa mga batas ng UAAP, kailangan ni Cansino tuparin ang kanyang one-year residency.

Pag-dating naman sa isyu ng “training bubble” sa Sorsogon, pinili na lang manahimik ng UST head coach umano dahil sa imbestigasyon ng Unibersidad at ng Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF).

“Regarding the alleged “bubble training” in Sorsogon, I will not comment for now as UST is already investigating the matter as well as the IATF. I am fully cooperating with the on-going investigations and praying that in due time, this will be properly addressed,” sabi ni Ayo.

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Sa isang pahayag na nilabas nito noong Linggo ng umaga, kinumpirma ng Unibersidad na sila mismo ay naglunsad na ng sariling imbestigasyon ukol sa isyu.

“Today, we heard news about the alleged breach of quarantine by the UST Men’s Basketball Team in Sorsogon. Accordingly, we created a committee to investigate and inquire into the matter,” isinaad ng Unibersidad sa kanilang pahayag.

Unang pumasok si Aldin Ayo noong 2018, kung saan siya ang napili para ibalik ang UST Growling Tigers sa pagka-panalo. Isang taon pagkatapos ang kanyang pag-pasok, nadala niya ang mga ito sa Finals ng UAAP Season 82, kung saan nakaharap nila ang Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Bago ito pumasok sa UST, dalawang beses nang nanalo ng kampeonato si Ayo bilang head coach, isa sa NCAA noong 2015 para sa kanyang alma mater na Letran, at noong 2016 naman para sa De La Salle Green Archers sa UAAP, isang karibal na koponan ng Growling Tigers.

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Cansino, tinanggal umano pagkatapos magsalita laban sa opisyal ng koponan

Ayon sa mga sanggunian, ang naging dahilan sa pagkatanggal ni Cansino ay ang kanyang pagsasalita para sa mga kapwa niyang manlalaro na gusto nang umuwi galing sa kanilang pag-eensayo.

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Habang nanantiling tahimik ang dating team captain ng UST Growling Tigers na si CJ Cansino sa dahilan ng kanyang pagtanggal sa kanyang dating koponan, ayon sa mga sanggunian, ang naging dahilan daw nito ang pagsalita ni Cansino para sa mga kapwa niyang manlalaro na gusto nang umuwi galing sa kanilang pag-eensayo.

Ayon kay Naveen Ganglani ng Rappler Sports, pumunta ang Growling Tigers sa Sorsogon noong Hunyo para magkaroon ng bubble para sa pag-eensayo nila, at dito rin nagsalita si Cansino para sa mga kapwa niyang player na gusto nang maka-uwi sa kanilang mga pamilya.

Kaninang umaga din lamang ay naglabas si Cansino ng pahayag kung saan inilahad niya na tinanggal siya ng Growling Tigers matapos pumutok ang balita noong Huwebes ng gabi. Isinaad niya dito ang kagustuhan niya sanang maglaro pa para sa Unibersidad kung siya ang papipiliin.

“Bigyan lang ako ng rason para hindi lumipat maglalaro pa rin ako sa UST eh. Kaya lang tinanggal ako eh. Hindi mo naman pwede ipagpilitan yung sarili mo. May pangarap din naman ako para sa sarili ko. Kaya sobrang lungkot lang na kailangan kong umalis sa UST kahit hindi ko gusto,” sabi ni Cansino sa kanyang pahayag.

Sa ngayon, wala pang lilipatan na koponan ang dating kapitan ng Growling Tigers, ngunit patuloy and pagsuyo sa kanya ng mga bigating pangalan ng mga karibal na Unibersidad.

READ  Growling Tigers suffer defeat versus Blue Eagles

Unang pumasok si Cansino sa UAAP Seniors Division noong 2018, kung saan ito ay tinaguriang super rookie at natapos na pangalawa sa botohan ng Rookie of the Year award noon, ngunit hindi nito natapos ang season matapos ito magkaroon ng pinsala sa kanyang ACL.

Nalimitahan man ang kontribusyon nya para sa Growling Tigers noong UAAP Season 82, naging importante pa rin ang pa rin ang 5.9 na puntos, 5.2 na rebounds, at 1.9 na assist nya sa pag usad ng Growling Tigers sa Finals kung saan nakaharap nila ang Ateneo Blue Eagles.

Ngunit tinanggal man si Cansino, mananatili sa UST ang kasalukuyang Rookie of the Year na si Mark Nonoy, Most Valuable Player na si Soulemane Chabi Yo, at si Rhenz Abando.

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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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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.

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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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