UAAP: Looking at the UST Growling Tigers' season

Rick Olivares - Philstar.com
UAAP: Looking at the UST Growling Tigers' season
Bal David

MANILA, Philippines — It could have been a great win, one to offer hope for the next one to come. 

Instead, the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers lost to the De La Salle Green Archers, 77-72, in their final game of UAAP Season 85 in a match that got away from them in the last two minutes.

UST led when Nic Cabañero and Adama Faye went to the bench for a rest with head coach Bal David hoping that Echo Laure and Kenji Duremdes could hold the fort. 

I know it is a gamble to try and keep your starters on the bench a bit longer to keep them fresh or even away from foul trouble but in this case, it backfired.

Faye and Cabañero were cold when they returned. 

UST could not score from the 8:26 mark until that final bucket by Richi Calimag. 

Alas, as we said all season, Duremdes cannot knock down those long jumpers with consistency and Laure cannot pass the ball from the three-point line and beyond.

UST’s guards — Jamba Garing and Paul Manalang have a lot of heart, lots. 

But they have to be mad when they think they can drive with impunity. This isn’t high school ball, guys.

The players are much taller. Unless you are two or three steps ahead, it isn’t a good idea. 

As a result, they had several crucial shots blocked when they should have just pulled up for a jumper instead of going in for the lay-up.

And lastly, I have no idea what UST was trying to pull by giving the ball to Adama Faye just close to the right corner three-point line when you’re down by three-points and the clock ticking away. 

If Faye were a lot closer to the basket, maybe. But no. Turnover. Ball game.

Granted, Cabañero took two shots before that missed. But he is still UST’s best shot maker and creator.

Yet despite the poor result, there is hope for UST.

Cabañero became the man this season for UST and he will only get better. 

He is like former star Rhenz Abando who can score when and where he wants. Those passes to Royce Mantua and Ivan Lazarte were money. 

When he learns to make better decisions with those shots, he will become a force of nature on the court.

Royce Mantua and Ivan Lazarte will become better players. 

It would be nice though for them to add more shots to their repertoire instead of just waiting for the kick out. And UST will need Duremdes to show that he can contribute.

And Adama Faye should be taught more post-up moves because when he gets going, he closes down that middle for the Growling Tigers.

I know people have been hard on Bal David, but relax. He took over with not much time to prepare. It is his baptism of fire and he will get better for this.

Take comfort in the fact that this Growling Tigers team has the makings of a good one. 



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