UAAP column: Some thoughts about the UST Growling Tigers

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
UAAP column: Some thoughts about the UST Growling Tigers

MANILA, Philippines – That searing rally by the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers against the National University Bulldogs fell short, as the latter won, 69-63.

Had UST executed better and made free throws down the stretch, it could have been a favorable result for them. 

Furthermore, one can only wonder where UST would be now if they had kept their old lineup that was lost when they decided to go farming in the middle of the pandemic, and had they been able to hold on to Kean Baclaan after the summer tournaments.

But that’s the past now.

Looking at the 1-2 Tigers, this is more of another rebuilding year as new head coach Bal David arrived a bit late for a full preparation and they will need more pieces to compete.

For UST to compete, they must — in our opinion — apply some things:

Manage the shot clock better

Against NU, more often than not, UST would chew up 13 seconds to bring up that ball on a half court set and before making that first pass. As a result, they were taking a lot of shots with the shot clock winding down. 

Control those boards and run

The Tigers are more effective when they can run. To be able to do that, they must control the boards. 
They had 23 fast-break points to the zero of NU. As Bulldogs head coach Jeff Napa wondered, “This is the first time na-zero ako sa fast-break points.” 

Had UST done better in the break towards the end, one more, it might have been a different result.

Get more players to contribute

It’s good to see Nic Cabañero stand up to be this team’s go-to player (19.6 points but nearly six turnovers per game). You could see it in his eyes when he goes to the basket, he has this focused and determined look. 

There too is Adama Faye, a center who will only get better. If they learn how to play him, release him, Faye will open up the floor for Cabañero and even Miguel Pangilinan. 

Right now, that’s it. 

They need Christian Manaytay to contribute more. Paul Manalang to be steady at the point guard position. Jamba Garing to make better decisions with the ball. If they can get Kenji Duremdes untracked.

The loss aside, the UST faithful can take heart that their squad went down fighting against heavily favored NU.

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