Renzo Subido made sure that he will keep wearing University of Santo Tomas’ colors to the end.
In a do-or-die game against University of the Philippines, the 5-foot-7 guard drained the go-ahead triple over Bright Akhuetie with 23.6 seconds remaining, pushing the Growling Tigers ahead, 66-65.
UST ended up with a 68-65 win to advance to the Finals. And the 23-year-old has dreamed of this moment.
“It’s not just mental preparation, I always practice it on the court. Sila coach McJour [Luib], sila coach Aldin [Ayo], they tell me na every time I practice, I have to simulate and do different scenarios.”
It was a moment not just for him, but also for the UST community.
“This is really big for the Thomasian community. Honestly, kung sino ‘yung pinaka-deserving sa panalo, UST ‘yun. We just want to give back to the community. From day one, they started supporting us. Naniniwala pa rin sila,” said the product of De La Salle-Zobel, who was there when UST last made the Finals in 2015, before crashing down to earth a year later.
“May mga doubts din, pero they’re still there.”
But it almost did not happen.
Two years ago, Subido left UST. According to some, it was because of a spat with then-head coach Boy Sablan. But according to the man himself, he needed it to see where he was at in his young career.
“It really helped me a lot. I learned a lot from a lot of coaches, the Banal brothers [Joel and Koy]. Maraming tumutulong sa ‘kin na very good in basketball, ‘yung mga insights na bibigay nila sa ‘kin,” recalled Subido, who played for Marinerong Pilipinas in the D-League during that time, while UST won only one game.
“I’m really grateful for those coaches and ‘yung mga veteran players na nakasabay ko. Sila coach Denok Miranda, sila Mark Isip, they’ve been to the professional level already so marami talaga akong natutunan sa kanila.”
Two years later, Subido now knows that that sacrifice was necessary not just for himself, but for UST.
“It was a tough decision, the fact na you’re leaving UST and the UAAP. But that’s a sacrifice I have to make para maging ganito ‘yung performance ko.”
Subido has been spectacular during the three do-or-die games of the Growling Tigers — including a 14-point performance in the biggest game of his young career.
Yes, the prodigal son delivered for his family. And now, he’s led them to the biggest stage of UAAP senior basketball.
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