Wednesday, March 30 decided the fate of the University of Santo Tomas Tigresses.
The Tigresses were perhaps the biggest losers of the day, left to sulk in the misery of another loss.
UST dropped a crucial tiff against fellow Final Four aspirants Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws. The four-set decision dropped UST out of the top four at 6-6 while FEU ascended to fourth at 7-5.
The match, however, did not end without controversy. UST contested a handful of calls at different points of the match that, after being shown on replay, should have clearly gone on their favor.
There were attacks that were wrongfully caller out or in, a vague, late serving violation on Carmela Tunay, net touches, check balls: nearly every possible type of missed calls.
“Sobrang naka-apekto sa amin (bad calls),” UST head coach Kungfu Reyes lamented. “Masama din kasi ‘yung timing ng mga tawag na ‘yun. Kung kailan aangat na kami at lalamang ng ganoon, saka lalabas ‘yung mga ganoong tawag.”
“Ang sa akin lang naman, kawawa ‘yung mga player. Pinaghihirapan nila ‘yung mga puntos, naghihirap sila sa ensayo tapos masisira lang dahil sa ganoong mga tawag? Mali ‘yun,” Reyes continued.
Reyes then expressed that the UAAP should look into adding a challenge system similar to the one installed in the Philippine Superliga Grand Prix last year.
“Malaking liga naman na ang UAAP. Gusto natin maging internationally competitive pero parang na-stuck tayo sa dating sistema. Nag-level up na lahat – coverage, fans, laro ng mga player – pero parang napag-iwanan tayo dito sa UAAP,” Reyes said. “Malay natin, next year mayroon na, UST naman ang host,” he then quipped.
Bad calls, however, weren’t the only reasons why UST lost.
Reyes thought the Tigresses lacked leadership in the court. He added that the burden of leadership not only falls on team captain Ej Laure’s lap but on every veteran in the team.
“Mas gusto talaga manalo ng FEU sa amin kanina. Gusto rin namain kaso kulang pa. Parang kulang kami sa leadership kanina at maturity. Ayoon talaga ang hinahanap ko sa kanila. Hindi lang naman kay Ej dapat ‘yun. Everyone should try to be a leader,” Reyes told.
“Ngayon, pride na lang talaga ang pinaglalaban namin. Hindi na namin iniisip yung Final Four. Basta gusto namin na matapos itong season na at least maipagmamalaki namin ‘yung character [ng team],” he closed.