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Ferrer hopes to have made UST proud



Smart Elite ambassador Kevin Ferrer, in his five years with the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers, has helped steer the España-based squad to three Finals appearances and four Final Four berths.

Throughout his UAAP Seniors’ career, Ferrer has started 41 of 64 regular season games and posted a career average of 10.5 points on 32.5% shooting, 6.4 rebounds, and at least one triple per game. Moreover, the UST skipper has posted career-highs in his final collegiate season, with averages of 17.9 points, on an efficient 40.1% clip from the field and 77.8% from the charity stripe, and 8.2 boards to lead the Growling Tigers to another Finals appearance.

However, just like the former King Tigers Jeric Fortuna and Jeric Teng, Kevin Ferrer was not able to cap his UAAP career with a championship, losing a heartbreaking winner-take-all Game Three to the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 67-62, early Wednesday evening.

In his final collegiate game, Ferrer was limited to just six points on seven attempts, with his last two attempts being desperation three-pointers as the Tamaraws held a two-possession advantage. “Naka stay-home talaga sila kay Kevin Ferrer. Talagang naka-deny sila kay Kevin,” UST head coach Bong Dela Cruz said about the blanketing defense of FEU seniors Mac Belo and Roger Pogoy. Their suffocating defense kept Ferrer from even at least gaining possession of the ball for the majority of the game.
Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ferrer hopes to have made UST proud
“Mahirap talaga intindihin yung depensa sa kanya ng FEU. Talagang naka-dikit sa kanya. Nandun din naman si Kevin. Hindi lang naman sa points. Nandun siya para sa rebounds, sa defense, and to lead.”

Minutes after the game, Ferrer came out of their locker room visibly heartbroken. As the UST faithful gathered around their captain in the parking lot of the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Ferrer was serenaded by chants of “Go USTE!” and “MVP!”. The Smart Elite ambassador went out of his way to stay for pictures with the UST students who had waited for the team, forcing a smile to hide the pain of the loss.

“Basta ginawa ko yung best ko. Pinaglaban ko yung UST. Kung ano man yung result, okay na ako doon,” an emotional Ferrer said on his way to the team bus.

For Dela Cruz, he is thankful to have coached Ferrer, as his leadership had proved vital to the Cinderella run of their team. “Kevin Ferrer is my MVP,” he reflected. “Nakita niyo naman yung ginawa niya sa team na ito. Ni-lead talaga niya itong team na ito sa Finals. Siya talaga yung dahilan kung bakit kami nandito.”

Ferrer, though, feels that he should have pushed the limits of his body for this game. “Yun talaga e. Yun na yung best (na kaya) e. Sa tingin ko kulang pa yung nagawa ko pero hindi pa naman tapos yung journey ko,” an exhausted and upset Ferrer furthered. “Basta ginawa namin yung best namin. Kung ano talaga yung destiny namin, okay na kami doon. Wala naman kaming question kay God. Yun yung plan talaga ni God sa amin.”

Philippine Sports News - Tiebreaker Times Ferrer hopes to have made UST proud    With five graduating seniors for the Growling Tigers, a new era will dawn for the España cagers next season, with Marvin Lee and Embons Bonleon leading the way. “Sobrang emotional kasi last year ko na ‘to,” he shared about what he said to his teammates after the game. “Basta nag-‘thank you’ ako. Nag-remind ako sa mga matitira na ipaglaban talaga nila yung pride ng UST.”

Projected to be a first round pick for the 2016 PBA Draft, Ferrer vows that he will work on the mistakes to become a better, stronger athlete. “Hindi naman matatapos dito yung career ko e. Lahat ng mistakes ko i-improve ko,” he closed.

“Hard worker talaga si Kevin and may good attitude. Sana maganda maging takbo ng PBA career niya,” his mentor for two years Bong Dela Cruz added.

Prior to going out of the locker room, Ferrer had pondered on whether the UST community will remember his career with UST fondly or with angst. Based on the words of encouragement and the chants of “Thank you Kevin!” outside the arena, the “King Tiger” will head on to his next journey knowing that the Thomasians are thankful for the blood, sweat, and tears he has given to the school.