UST booked its first win of UAAP Season 81 over FEU at the Smart Araneta Coliseum today, but it wasn’t without a hitch.
A crucial lay-in by Ken Zamora with under a minute left in the payoff period gave the Growling Tigers a five-point spread, 76-71, but a trey from Hubert Cani and a turnover from Marvin Lee gave the Tamaraws a chance to force overtime or steal the game.
Fortunately for the Aldin Ayo’s squad, Arvin Tolentino’s three-point attempt veered right.
For UST, this was more than just an opening win. In Season 80, it took them 14 tries to notch their first victory. This was also the Espana-based squad’s first win over FEU since Kevin Ferrer exploded for them in 2015 in Game 2 of the Season 78 Finals.
“Deserving ‘yung UST kasi… naramdaman ko si coach Boy (Sablan), naramdaman ko ‘yung community. They deserve this kasi grabe ‘yung suporta eh. Grabe ‘yung suporta. I know it’s too early, ‘di kami maku-kuntento dito pero the community deserves this,” an emotional Ayo said after the game.
“Last year, even though I was in a different team, nararamdaman ko ‘yung community ng UST. Lots of my friends are there, that’s why I transferred here. I just want to help this university.”
Henri Subido and Marvin Lee made amends, too. After combining for an abysmal 8-for-43 shooting in the team’s season debut against the NU Bulldogs, the two combined for 31 points.
Subido, in particular, looked less jittery and scored eight of his 18 in a crucial fourth period to finish with 18 points, two rebounds and an assist.
“’Yung last game na ‘yon, we were able to get our shots. ‘Di lang talaga pumapasok. ‘Di naman kami na-down doon kasi alam naming na magiging mas maayos pa ‘yung laro namin eh. We just have to trust each other at magtiwala sa sistema, gawin lang namin ‘yung pinapagawa sa’min ni coach. Dami naming sacrifices para sa panalo na ‘to and sa mga succeeding games, pagt-trabahuhan pa namin ‘yon,” Subido said.
UST and FEU now both hold 1-1 win-loss records.
UST (76) – Subido 18, Lee 13, Marcos 12, Akomo 10, Huang 9, Cansino 7, Zamora 5, Mahinay 2, Consejo 0, Enrique Jr. 0, Bonleon 0.
FEU (74) – Orizu 25, Cani 15, Escoto 13, Tolentino 6, Comboy 5, Parker 4, Tuffin 2, Ebona 2, Stockton 2, Inigo 0, Gonzales 0.