Big turnaround for Tigers
Olmin Leyba (The Philippine Star) - December 3, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines – On the receiving end of harsh criticisms after failing to steer University of Santo Tomas to the UAAP Final Four last year, second-year coach Bong dela Cruz felt he has vindicated himself with the Tigers’ magical run that ended with a runner-up finish in Season 78.

“Siguro naman. Last year alam naman natin ang nangyari sa akin. This year, hard work lang. Inumpisahan ko ang preparation one week after Season 77, nag-prepare kami and ito ang naging result (This should be my vindication. We all knew what happened the previous year so after the season, I worked hard to prepare the team early and we got a good result),” said dela Cruz.

Pretty much under the radar at the start, the Tigers roared to a leading 11-3 win-loss card in the elims, beating eventual champion Far Eastern twice. In the finals, however, the Thomasians bowed to the Tams, 1-2, to settle for silver for the third time the last four years.

“Siempre very good (It was very good),” dela Cruz said when asked to describe UST’s campaign. “Wala namang nag-expect na aabot kami dito (Nobody really have us a chance to get this far),”

Dela Cruz came to the defense of his “MVP” Kevin Ferrer, who coughed up six points after exploding with 29 in UST’s Game Two victory.

“Siempre mahirap. Iyung depensa ng FEU talagang nakadikit kay Kevin. At andoon din naman si Kevin, hindi lang siya sa points; andun siya to rebound, to defend, and to lead the team. Hindi naman namin in-expect na maulit yung last game pero he led the team (It was hard for Ferrer because FEU’s defenders really focused on him. We felt Ferrer’s presence still – he wasn’t scoring but he was there to rebound and defend. We weren’t expecting a repeat of his Game Two performance but he did his part in leading the team,” he said.

Dela Cruz will be virtually starting from scratch next season with the graduation of Ferrer and the rest of his starting crew Karim Abdul, Ed Daquioag, Louie Vigil and Jan Sheriff.  

ACIRC CRUZ DELA CRUZ ED DAQUIOAG FAR EASTERN FINAL FOUR GAME TWO KARIM ABDUL KEVIN KEVIN FERRER LOUIE VIGIL AND JAN SHERIFF
Philstar
  • Latest
  • Trending
Latest
Recommended
Are you sure you want to log out?
X
Login

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

SIGN IN
or sign in with