During the opening game of the UAAP Season 78 Men’s Basketball Finals, the Far Eastern University’s bevy of big men took a toll on University of Santo Tomas’s Karim Abdul. Playing heavy minutes — a total of 36 to be exact — Abdul had to battle it out against the likes of FEU’s Prince Orizu, Raymar Jose and Russell Escoto amidst heavy fatigue.
“I don’t have a choice. When you’re a player, you just have to go over the tiredness and don’t think about it. I only think about just winning and it’s all that matters,” Abdul told reporters, when asked about playing heavy minutes. “Whatever happens, whatever obstacle that comes in your way, you don’t look at it. So, next game I’m still prepared to play that kind of game.”
Abdul was all over the place during the Finals opener as he dropped 19 points, 9 rebounds, an assist, and two blocks. He also kept UST afloat during the match, and was even a key part of his team’s key spirited comeback during the second half. However, his efforts were not enough as the Tigers committed costly turnovers during the final quarter and the breaks of the game went in the Tamaraws’ favor.
“It was a great game. I knew before the game that it would come up to the breaks of the game,” Abdul added. “I think, overall, we played well and I take it as my fault for losing the ball in a crucial game, that’s what changed our momentum. So, I’m really sorry for the community about that.”
Another key factor that greatly challenged Abdul was the presence of the 6-foot-10 Orizu. Abdul said that his size and weight proved to be a big problem for him, since he had a hard time running circles around the paint and had to settle for midrange jumpers. Orizu had also made it hard for Abdul to win the battle of the boards.
“Of course, it’s really tough for us with the size advantage he has,” Abdul remarked. “He’s not lanky, he’s just really heavy so it’s not easy to move around and go around at him. So, it’s really tough, it’s really hard.”
FEU’s frontline has been lethal to UST in the opening game of the series. The Tigers have been severely outrebounded and the pace didn’t went to their favor. If they hope to turn around these series, Abdul and the rest of UST must gang up in order to combat the opposition’s size advantage. Sometimes, speed and shooting can offset a bigger team. Can UST even up the series or will FEU once against assert its might over the Tigers?
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