The University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers and the Ateneo de Manila University Blue Eagles were neck and neck in the first three quarters of their opening day tilt.
During the first 30 minutes of action, both teams were tied 13 times and exchanged leads 18 times. However, the Blue Eagles were able to breakaway early in the final frame, going on a 14-2 rally that saw the cagers from Espena trying to match the suddenly-hot shooting of their opponents.
“Breaks of the game. Last three minutes in the third quarter medyo they were making their shots,” the 6’2 winger shared. “Hilaw yung close out namin. We didn’t change our defense.”
UST stuck to its plan of utilizing its zone defense even when Ateneo was making their shots from downtown, converting on four of their six triples in the final ten minutes of the game.
When Ateneo’s shooting turned sour, the hosts tried to make a comeback attempt, even cutting the once 14 points lead to just five with 54 seconds remaining. However, a backbreaking jumper by Aaron Black ended their comeback bid.
Vigil for his part struggled in the final frame, scoring just three points after putting up 18 in the first three quarters. The King Tiger believes that his and his team’s struggles was more mental rather than the opposing defense.
“It’s all in our mind e. Yung nakaka-shoot sila ng 3 points, yung mga teammates ko siyempre gustong bumawi ng 3 points din,” he lamented.
“They’re making their shots nga, kami 2-of-22 sa 3 points”
“Individually din hindi ako contented sa game ko kasi yun nga I know I’m a good 3-point shooter and then 0 out of 7. So initially hindi ko talaga nagustuhan yung game ko ngayon,” he furthered.
Leaving this game behind, the 24 year old senior vows that the hosts will bounce back.
“Makakapag-adjust kami next game. Let’s see kung ano yung ihahanda ni coach na defense,” he closed.
“Siyempre yun yung battlecry namin, defense. So let’s see kung ano yung bago niya ibibigay, ipapagawa sa amin.”