After almost shocking the NU Bulldogs on opening day, the Growling Tigers were able to finish the job four days later.
The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers completed a stunning upset of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws, 76-74, Wednesday afternoon at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
Last season, it took 13 games before the Growling Tigers picked up their first win of the season. This time around, it only took two. And first-year Growling Tigers head coach Aldin Ayo got emotional with this feat, as he paid tribute to the community and former head coach Boy Sablan.
“Naramdaman ko si coach Boy at yung community. They deserve this. Grabe yung suporta nila. I know this is too early pero hindi tayo makukuntento,” expressed Ayo, who broke down in tears.
Subido and Marvin Lee, who combined to shoot just 8-for-43 against NU, finished with 18 and 13 points respectively.
“Para sa akin, binigay lang namin yung best namin kaya namin nakuha yung panalo ngayon,” said Lee, who had four assists and two steals.
“Tulad ng sinabi nila, we trusted the system,” added Subido.
But it was former Arellano Chief Kenneth Zamora who knocked down the biggest shot of the game.
With UST clinging to a three-point lead, Zamora was able to split two defenders for a layup with 18.5 ticks left. Prior to this shot, he was just 1-for-7 from the field.
“Pinaghirapan po namin yun. Sabi lang ni coach na maglaro lang kami. Tiwala lang siya sa amin kaya namin nakuha yun,” Zamora said.
Still, FEU had one last run in them.
Off a timeout, Ino Comboy missed a triple but was able to rebound his own error. The senior guard then found Hubert Cani, who drained a triple to give FEU a chance.
On the other end, Lee committed a turnover. With no timeouts left, the Tamaraws ran the length of the floor before finding Arvin Tolentino. The graduating forward could not replicate his heroics against the DLSU Green Archers last Sunday, missing a potential game-tying triple.
Besides UST’s troika of guards, the team’s young guns also had a huge imprint in the game.
“We are a very young team. Our team is composed of nine rookies at isa lang senior namin. Yung mga rookies namin are still adjusting,” Ayo said. “May mga rookies kami na first time makapasok sa Araneta at MOA. Malaking bagay yun dahil hindi sila sanay maglaro dun at maglaro ng matagal. Good thing na nalabas yung laro nila.”
Joshua Marcos provided the spark for UST with 12 points, while CJ Cansino added 10 rebounds and seven points.
Prince Orizu tallied 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting to go along with 15 rebounds. Cani tallied 15 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the loss.
UST look to continue their run when they face the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons on Sunday, September 16 at the Filoil Flying V Centre. FEU, on the other hand, look to bounce back at the expense of their tormentors Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles on Saturday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
UST 76 – Subido 18, Lee 13, Marcos 12, Akomo 10, Huang 9, Cansino 7, Zamora 5, Mahinay 2, Cosejo 0, Cuanan 0, Bonleon 0
FEU 74 – Orizu 25, Cani 15, Escoto 13, Tolentino 6, Comboy 5, Parker 4, Tuffin 2, Ebona 2, Stockton 2, Inigo 0, Gonzales 0
Quarterscores: 15-17, 39-32, 56-52, 76-74