In his five-year stay in University of Santo Tomas, Zachy Huang has experienced it all.
He has hit both the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.
And in his final year, the 21-year-old product of Ateneo de Cebu gets to end his run where he started it — at the big dance.
“Sobrang grateful. I’m grateful na naranasan ko ‘yung sobrang baba tapos ngayon, nasa taas na kami ngayon,” said Huang after UST’s 68-65 win over UP last Wednesday that punched their ticket to the Finals.
Five years ago, a wide-eyed rookie Huang played under Bong Dela Cruz, who steered UST to the Season 77 Finals. However, they then suffered a Game Three heartbreak to Far Eastern University.
What followed was two years of futility for Huang and the Growling Tigers under the watch of Boy Sablan. The two seasons that followed only ended up with a total of four wins.
Then came the shining light of decorated head coach Aldin Ayo.
After missing the Final Four boat a year ago, he steered UST, along with Huang, to the championship round.
And it’s because of the hard work they have put in since their early elimination last year.
“Start of the season, no one was looking at us. We’re used to being the underdog. We’re okay with that situation.”
Though no one expected the Growling Tigers to face off with the Ateneo Blue Eagles in the last stage of the tournament, Huang stresses that they are still not content.
Knowing the pain of a Finals loss, Huang declared that he and his teammates will go for broke to end UST’s 13-year title drought.
“Mas masakit matalo when you’re in the Finals kaysa losing to make it to the Final Four. We’ll just do our best and sana suportahan pa kami ng UST community.”
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