Not even a late fourth-quarter effort by UP helped them from a shell-shocking loss at the hands of UST, who cruised to an 86-72 win on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Save for the fourth quarter, where they were outscored 26-10, it was a gritty but clinical victory by the Growling Tigers as posted their second-straight blowout victory after beating UE last week.
“Everybody came out to play today. Almost all of my players, they played well. We executed the game plan, and they were more relaxed by just playing basketball or having fun,” head coach Aldin Ayo shared.
“They were playing as a team. We were playing as a team, I think that was the difference compared to our previous games.”
The same couldn’t be said for their foes, who fell behind by as much as 30 after a trey CJ Cansino pushed the Tigers up by 73-43.
Cansino posted another superb effort and racked up his fourth double-double of the season with 16 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and two steals.
“Ginagawa ko lang yung role ko and yung best ko. Sabi ni coach, maliliit kami kaya kailangan ko tumulong sa rebounds. So were doing our best na gawin talaga yung sinasabi ni coach, na makatulong ako sa team,” Cansino said.
Aside from Ayo’s prized rookie, he also saw impressive double-figure scoring efforts from both his young guns and veterans. Henri Subido scored 13 points and handed out six assists, Ken Zamora added 12 and Marvin Lee chipped in 11.
This development was ideal for a core that has nine rookies this season — the most of any team in the UAAP today.
“Habang tumatagal, natututo mga players. Ang importante, nagiging komportable sa ginagawa. Katulad ng sinabi ko last me, we’re going to be patient. We’re just going to wait for them to show up. And fortunately, today, most of the players showed up. They came to play,” said Ayo.
Winning on the glass was also another notable feat in today’s win as gang rebounding seemed to win the effort for UST. This was important since they were still missing the presence of center Steve Akomo due to blood clots.
“Okay naman siya, he’s fine. I hope he can recover, nothing serious naman pero sana gumaling kasi kawawa yung bata,” Ayo said of Akomo.
“Of course, this is for Steve. This is for all the players, this is for the community. This is for UST.”
Zach Huang’s 13 boards led UST’s relentless attack on the rebounding battle, which they won by 51-38.
After a five-hour practice yesterday, Ayo and his wards will get back to work tomorrow immediately as they prepare for the FEU Tamaraws, who are playing Ateneo as of press time.
“We’re not going to have a break tomorrow, we have 3 days to prepare against FEU. So we’re going to practice tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday. Hopefully, we’d be ready. We’ll make sure that we’ll be ready and we’ll make sure na we’re going to deserve that,” Ayo said.
UST (86) – Cansino 16, Subido 13, Zamora 12, Lee 11, Huang 9, Caunan 8, Bonleon 7, Agustin 5, Mahinay 2, Bataller 2, Marcos 1, Consejo 0.
UP (72) – Akhuetie 18, Gomez de Liano Juan 12, Dario 10, Gomez de Liano Juan 9, Desiderio 6, Murrell 6, Vito 3, Lim 2, Spencer 2, Tungcab 2, Gozum 2, Manzo 0, Jaboneta 0.