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UST’s finals run is a testament to Aldin Ayo’s greatness

For UST Growling Tigers Head Coach Aldin Ayo, their finals trip is a reminder of how UST’s program has grown in the two years under his care.

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Photo by Christine Annmarie Tapawan/TomasinoWeb

The UST Growling Tigers may have been victims of Ateneo’s run to perfection after being swept in the UAAP season 82 men’s basketball finals on Wednesday, but it is hard to deny how far the program has gone within the first two years under current head coach Aldin Ayo. 

From a respectable 5-9 record in season 81, the dark horse Tigers made an unexpected leap this season which saw them go 8-6 in eliminations which was good enough for fourth seed. 

In the stepladder semis, they survived an FEU program that had one of the best defenses in the league, then proceeded to weather a twice to beat advantage from the UP Fighting Maroons that ultimately resulted in Renzo Subido immortalizing himself with a triple that sent the Tigers back to the Finals. 

Come the Finals, UST was ultimately swept by the near impenetrable Ateneo Blue Eagles, but not before they posted a scare to deny the defending champs’ attempt at perfection in Game 2. 

For Aldin Ayo however, a loss will be a loss, but this finals trip is a reminder of how UST’s program has grown under his care.

“I could say yes. Kasi syempre you always want to improve eh.” Ayo answered when asked if the program has indeed grown within his first two years in España,” during his press interview after the UST-Ateneo finals Game 2 Wednesday, Nov. 20.

“Last year we ended up sixth, this year, we made it to the Finals. Our mindset is even if we made it to the finals this season, ang dami pa namin kulang, ang dami pa namin dapat trabahuhin, and I will make sure na kung ano yung mga experiences namin sa finals, matuto kami and trabahuhin namin kung anong kulang sa amin.” he added. 

Prior to his current stint in UST, Ayo steered the Letran Knights to their first title in a decade back in 2015, and eventually snapped a two-year title drought for the De LaSalle Green Archers just a year later. 

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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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