INSIDE THE FINALS: Tigers finally enjoy playing in the finals

Paul Lintag on Nov 29, 2015 05:42 PM
INSIDE THE FINALS: Tigers finally enjoy playing the finals
"Nandito na tayo sa finals eh, enjoy natin yung mga moment dito." - head coach Bong dela Cruz as the Growling Tigers tie the UAAP season 78 finals.

The FEU Tamaraws were 20 minutes away from capturing a 20th UAAP title before King Tiger Kevin Ferrer decided he wanted to do his best Klay Thompson impression and went absolutely crazy in the third quarter.

And although Ferrer would go quiet in the fourth, he dealt with foul trouble the rest of the way, his veteran teammates were more than happy to shoulder the load and force a sudden death after the Tigers beat the Tamaraws, 62-56, in game 2 at the Araneta Coliseum Saturday.

That has been the story in UST's first victory of the UAAP Season 78 Finals, more than Ferrer scoring 24 of his 29 points in the third quarter, the Tigers finally enjoyed playing in the big stage.

"Sinabi ko lang i-enjoy. We enjoy the game. Turning point dun is i-enjoy namin yung ginagawa namin lalo na yung nilagay namin sa board namin na discipline on defense and discipline on offense," head coach Bong dela Cruz told ABS-CBN Sports after a celebratory mood inside the UST dugout. "Sabi ko nga sa kanila masyado tayong tight nung first game pa lang, sabi ko hindi pwede yung ganun. Nandito na tayo sa finals eh, enjoy natin yung mga moment dito para mas relax."

Another crucial development for the Tigers in game 2 was that they rediscovered their mental toughness that has allowed the team to mount countless comebacks all the way from the elimination round.

As the Tamaraws unleashed their signature run in the fourth that erased Ferrer's gargantuan effort, the Growling Tigers turned to the calmness of Ed Daquioag, the timely hits of Louie Vigil and the clutchness of Karim Abdul from the stripe to earn the win.

"Last game kasi the mental tougness yung wala eh, so pinagaralan namin yun. Sabi namin at the end of the game, sa fourth quarter, everybody is tired kailangan yung mental tougness ang lalabas, ngayon na-prove namin na meron kami," dela Cruz said.

Even after tying the Season 78 Finals, dela Cruz and the Tigers understand that what they did was just that, to tie the series. Similar to their locker room talk at the end of game 1, nobody wins the title with just one win.

And ahead of the deciding game 3, he just wants his team, especially his veterans, to do what they just did today: enjoy the moment.

"Game 3, enjoyin pa rin natin yung moment. Kasi pag hindi mo i-enjoy and masyado mo inisip na 'game 3 last game ko na ito' lalo ka magiging tight, lalo ka mape-pressure eh. So we fight pressure by enjoying the game."

The Growling Tigers know they have more "work work" to do in order to win the UAAP title, good thing they enjoy what they do now.

Watch the exclusive scoop inside the UST locker room below.

INSIDE THE FINALS: The Growling Tigers will enjoy this win but they know that a bigger war awaits in game 3.For more updates on the UAAP Season 78 Finals visit

Posted by ABS-CBN Sports on Saturday, November 28, 2015


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